Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Kansas City, MO, Can Help You Receive Compensation
Doctors are among the most trusted professionals in the world. We entrust physicians and other members of the healthcare community with our very lives. Unfortunately, this trust is sometimes misplaced. We occasionally hear about major surgical errors (e.g., wrong limb amputations) on the news, but medical mistakes are far more common than what we see in the media. In fact, healthcare provider and hospital negligence are one of the leading causes of death in America. While there is some dispute over the specific number, such errors occur far too often. If you or a loved one has been injured due to such a mistake, medical malpractice lawyers in Kansas City, MO, may be able to help.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, our personal injury attorneys have seen medical errors lead to life-altering injuries. Victims of such events often find themselves unable to work, facing significant medical bills, dealing with lifelong conditions, and typically in worse shape than when they initially sought treatment. Such catastrophic injuries caused by medical negligence cannot simply be overlooked. If you or someone in your life has suffered due to such negligence, reach out to the personal injury lawyers at Mohlman Gurney Injury Law today. We offer free consultations to prospective clients, and if you do choose our law firm, you won’t pay a dime unless we recover compensation for your injury.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Every healthcare provider—regardless of their specific profession—has a duty to uphold a certain standard of care. This is true for nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and anyone else working within the field. Medical malpractice occurs when the negligent actions of these professionals lead to injury. The truth is that medical errors are far more common than most of us would like to believe. However, their effects are typically minimal. For instance, misdiagnosed heartburn or muscle spasms will usually result in nothing more than mild discomfort lasting a bit longer than we’d hoped for.
It’s important to note that not all harm caused by treatment will lead to a successful Kansas City medical malpractice claim. The simple fact is that it’s possible for patients to experience harm even when medical professionals do their absolute best. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from an expected quality of care. For instance, doctors who engage in treatments that the medical community does not recognize will likely experience their fair share of personal injury claims. Fortunately, medical professionals typically strive to maintain quality standards of care based on current evidence.
When they fail in this endeavor, though, you may have a valid legal claim. Speak with a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney today to better understand your rights.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Since not all injuries caused by medical professionals constitute negligence, it’s important to understand what factors qualify an injury as medical malpractice. Courts will typically look at three elements to decide if compensatory damages—or even additional punitive damages—are appropriate in a specific case. If you or a loved one are an injured patient who suffered harm while seeking treatment, it’s important that you don’t assume the following factors mean you do or don’t have a case. This is a very complex area of law in Missouri, so you’ll certainly benefit from speaking with a law firm.
However, the following three factors will give you a better idea of what courts consider in these cases:
- Failure to maintain an appropriate standard of care: It must be shown that a medical professional failed to uphold the expected standard of care in their profession.
- Injuries result from the standard of care failure: The failure to uphold an appropriate standard of care must lead directly to an injury in a patient.
- Injuries lead to considerable damage: The injury caused by failure to uphold an appropriate standard of care must cause considerable damage.
Missouri courts will make the final call in medical malpractice suits over whether these three factors are met. If a misdiagnosis led to a few days of an uncomfortable rash, you’re unlikely to receive compensation. If any mistake leads to lost wages, disability, ongoing medical issues, severe pain, suffering, or other significantly damaging outcomes, though, Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys might be able to help. In fact, you may not have to go to court at all since malpractice insurance providers often prefer to handle cases outside of trial.
To better understand your unique situation, schedule a free consultation with Mohlman Gurney Injury Law today.
What are Missouri Laws on Medical Negligence?
While the three elements of medical malpractice suits are nearly universal, it’s important to remember that laws regarding such negligence can vary by state. Courts in the Kansas City area must abide by Missouri statutes, and there have been significant changes to the law in recent years. Unfortunately, these changes have made successful medical malpractice claims more difficult to come by. An injured party is expected to follow certain procedural guidelines, and their medical records must typically be investigated to ensure their injury doesn’t have an alternative underlying cause.
There are many other complexities to these cases in Missouri. For instance, our state has several different statutes of limitation regarding mistakes made by healthcare providers. Depending on your specific situation, your time limit to file a case can differ significantly. Review the following to see which statute may apply in your case:
- Statute of limitations: Under normal circumstances, the statute of limitations for Missouri medical malpractice cases is two years. This means a case must be filed within two years of the discovery—or when the discovery should’ve occurred—of the error.
- Statute of repose: Since medical malpractice cases can be filed years after the fact if an error isn’t discovered until later, the statute of repose puts an overall time limit for all cases. If 10 years pass since the initial medical error, a lawsuit cannot be filed.
- Statute for minors: If an injured party was under 18 at the time of a medical mistake, their lawsuit must be filed before they turn 20 years old. This often makes the statute of repose void in such situations.
The statutes of limitation regarding a medical malpractice case are far from where the complexities of Missouri law end. Those who are injured due to hospital malpractice or other negligent acts must also secure an “Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider.” This is the written opinion of a qualified healthcare provider that attests that a failure to maintain appropriate quality of care led to an injury in a patient. It must be filed within 90 days of a lawsuit. This attempt to keep any frivolous medical malpractice action out of the courts puts an additional burden on victims.
Missouri also has stringent laws on the level of compensation victims can receive. For instance, there is a cap of $400,000 in non-economic damages. This cap increases to $700,000 if wrongful death or a catastrophic injury occurs. These caps do not affect economic damages—which are based on the real costs that victims face. Recent changes have also made punitive damages—those meant to punish negligent parties—more difficult to come by. Victims must now show that a healthcare provider intentionally caused damage or engaged in “malicious misconduct” if they hope to receive punitive awards.
By now, the complexity of Missouri’s medical negligence laws should be apparent. This is why having an experienced law firm on your side is so important.
Types of Medical Malpractice in Missouri
When most people think of medical malpractice cases, they envision instances where the wrong limb is amputated. This isn’t a common occurrence. In fact, a recent instance was so surprising that it made national news in America even though it happened in Austria. Other medical errors are far more common, and in many cases, they’re even more disastrous. The following medical malpractice cases are among the most common we see at Mohlman Gurney Injury Law:
- Medication errors
- Birth injuries
- Surgical errors
- Failure to get informed consent
- Incorrect treatment
- Delayed diagnosis
- Medical product liability
- Missed diagnosis
- Anesthesia errors
- A left-behind foreign object
While this list probably looks long, it’s far from exhaustive. Medical malpractice laws in Missouri cover any type of mistake or act that deviates from accepted standards of care and causes damage. If your injury doesn’t fall under any of these categories, don’t make the mistake of assuming you don’t have a valid case. We offer free consultations at Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, so you can get a professional legal opinion about your injury before deciding how to move forward. Don’t miss out on receiving fair compensation by making an inaccurate assumption about your case.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you suffered injuries due to medical negligence in Missouri, you must file a petition with the court to receive compensation. Since you’ll need an Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider before your lawsuit can move forward, though, it’s best to start there. If you’re able to secure this letter from a medical professional, it’s a good sign that you have a solid case. It tells the court that another experienced individual in the field would likely not have made the same mistake when following proper standards of care.
Once you’ve filed your petition and obtained an affidavit from another healthcare professional, the individual(s) or medical entity you’re suing must be served with the lawsuit. A process server or sheriff’s deputy will typically handle this step. This paperwork will inform the defendant of your lawsuit and tell them what steps they need to take next. However, it’s important to note that many medical malpractice cases never get to this point. That’s because the majority of personal injury claims are settled outside of court.
A settlement is a likely outcome following acts of medical negligence. In situations where the fault is clear, insurers often will not want to take their chances in court. Don’t fall into the trap, however, of thinking an insurance adjuster is on your side. They’re going to try to offer you as little as possible—because less money in your pocket means higher profits for them. This is why you must be extremely careful when discussing a medical malpractice case with insurers.
Do I Need a Kansas City Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Medical malpractice lawyers in Kansas City can handle all the heavy lifting for you. One of the main benefits of having an experienced legal team on your side is that you can focus on healing. If you or a loved one were injured due to negligent medical treatment, then the process of filing lawsuits, conducting research, seeking out evidence, and all the other necessary steps in a successful medical malpractice claim can be burdensome. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t take on the process by yourself—but should you?
Statistics consistently show that individuals represented by legal professionals receive higher settlements and court awards. It all comes down to experience. For instance, attorneys have dealt with insurance adjusters far more often than the average citizen. When you’re on the phone with an adjuster, they’ll try to convince you that your injury is worth less. They’ll even try to guide the conversation into an admission that you may have caused your own serious injury. They know better than to try this with an experienced legal professional.
These are far from the only advantages you’ll have by working with a medical malpractice attorney in Kansas City. Additional benefits include:
- Ability to negotiate fair settlements
- Evening the playing field (e.g., doctors will have attorneys)
- Assistance with finding and accessing medical care
- Contingency-fee law firms are highly motivated to help you win
- Avoidance of mistakes that can derail your lawsuit
- An understanding of what your claim is worth
Missouri law does not require you to seek legal advice prior to filing a lawsuit. Additionally, you aren’t required to have a lawyer when attempting to negotiate a settlement with the medical malpractice insurance company. In fact, they’re hoping you won’t retain counsel. If you want to improve your chances of winning your case, however, it’s wise to seek legal advice. An experienced attorney can help get you a fair settlement or represent you in court if a medical malpractice lawsuit becomes necessary.
Mohlman Gurney Injury Law has served the Kansas City area since 2005. We understand Missouri medical malpractice laws—even when they seem to constantly change—and can help you receive fair compensation for your medical injuries. And since we offer a free consultation to all prospective clients, you have zero to lose by seeking to better understand your rights.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Kansas City, MO Today
Medical malpractice cases are among the most disheartening and tragic examples of personal injury. We place absolute trust in healthcare workers in the hopes that they’ll heal us. When the negligence of a medical professional ends up harming us, it’s often more than we can wrap our minds around. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through these difficulties alone. A Kansas City medical malpractice attorney can review your case, identify a sound legal strategy, and work to get the compensation you deserve. Even financial restitution may not be enough to help you fully recover, but it can help you better deal with the struggles you’ll face.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, we deal with some of the most complex personal injury cases in the Kansas City area. We know that surgical errors, birth injuries, misdiagnoses, and other medical mistakes may not be the most common occurrences in the world. When they do happen, though, they can leave victims struggling for years to come. Don’t face medical expenses, physical therapy, and other difficulties on your own. Mohlman Gurney Injury Law has a team of medical malpractice lawyers in Kansas City, MO, who are committed to getting our clients justice. Contact us today by calling (816) 648-6000 to schedule a free consultation. The road ahead may be a difficult one, but it’s not one you must travel alone.