Farmington Hills Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Farmington Hills is home to several medical facilities, including Beaumont Hospital Farmington Hills. Several physicians also work in private practices in and around the area. When residents or visitors need medical care, they rely on these providers.
These medical professionals usually provide excellent care, but this is not always true. When a healthcare provider or hospital fails to meet the standard of care in treating patients, their negligence can cause disabling, permanent injuries. Medical errors are among the most common causes of death in the United States. According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, one in every ten deaths in the U.S. each year is caused by a preventable medical error.
For over 45 years, the team at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. has helped our Farmington Hills clients pursue the compensation they deserve when preventable medical negligence has caused serious harm.
Understanding Medical Malpractice in Michigan
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals have a duty under Michigan law to provide care that meets or exceeds the “standard of care.” The standard of care is typically defined as “the type and level of care an ordinary, prudent health care professional, with the same training and experience, would provide under similar circumstances in the same community.” Hospitals and other healthcare facilities also must meet this standard.
To prove medical malpractice, an injured person and their Michigan medical malpractice attorney must show:
- The healthcare provider had a duty to adhere to the standard of care in their interactions with the injured person.
- The provider failed to meet the standard of care.
- This failure to meet the standard of care caused the injured person’s injuries.
- A court can award damages for those injuries.
The facts and circumstances of each case affect which of these factors require the most attention. For instance, some medical malpractice cases focus on the standard of care. Others are clear on the standard of care, but the parties dispute whether the provider’s actions actually caused a patient’s injuries. Sometimes, the parties agree about the cause and liability but have very different ideas about valuing the damages.
Because disputes can arise over any or all of these four factors, medical malpractice claims can become quite complex. Other factors that add to the complexity of these claims include the following:
- Medical malpractice claims often involve multiple parties. For example, a diagnosis error claim might involve the injured person’s family physician, a local hospital, an outpatient lab or clinic, and the physician responsible for reading test results. A surgery error might involve a surgeon, a hospital, operating room staff nurses and assistants, an anesthesiologist, and even the maker of a medical device used during surgery.
- Medical malpractice claims often focus on complex scientific issues. Medical experts undergo years of education and training because practicing medicine is often complex. Having other medical experts testify in a medical malpractice case is often necessary for a judge and jury to understand exactly what happened.
- Doctors and hospitals tend to fight medical malpractice claims with extensive resources. Malpractice judgments can have profound effects on providers and facilities. When a doctor or hospital faces a medical malpractice claim, they and their insurance companies typically mount a vigorous defense. Injured plaintiffs often require the help of an experienced attorney to protect their rights and level the playing field.
Michigan also has certain legal and procedural requirements specific to medical malpractice claims. Failure to comply with these rules can result in your case being dismissed. An experienced lawyer can help you meet these requirements and pursue your claim successfully.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice claims usually fall into two categories: errors of commission and errors of omission.
An error of commission occurs when a healthcare provider does something that causes a patient’s injury. Some of the most common mistakes of commission that arise in medical malpractice claims include:
- Medication errors such as writing, filling, or dispensing the wrong prescription medication or medication dose.
- Surgical errors like operating on the wrong body part, causing damage to organs or tissue during surgery, and performing unnecessary surgery.
- Diagnostic errors like reading an imaging study or a lab report incorrectly leading to the patient receiving the wrong diagnosis.
An error of omission occurs when a healthcare provider fails to do something they should have done under the standard of care, and the failure causes injury. Some common errors of omission that appear in medical malpractice claims include:
- Failure to prescribe treatment for a diagnosed condition, including failure to prescribe appropriate medication, failing to treat a condition promptly, and failing to use appropriate methods to treat a patient.
- Failure to diagnose a medical issue properly, which may result from failing to order necessary tests or failing to check a patient’s medical history.
- Failure to follow up with a patient during treatment.
- Failure to provide necessary care, such as administering timely medication, maintaining sterile surroundings, or performing preventative care measures like turning a bedridden patient regularly to relieve pressure sores.
Both errors of commission and errors of omission can cause severe injuries. When a medical error occurs, the error may cause harm on its own. It may also make underlying medical conditions worse.
For example, a provider who misreads a test result may conclude that the patient has a particular disease when the patient has a different condition. Based on the incorrect reading, the patient may receive treatment for a problem they do not have. This treatment may cause dangerous side effects or other complications. Meanwhile, the patient’s actual condition goes untreated and may worsen.
What To Expect During a Michigan Medical Malpractice Claim
Michigan medical malpractice claims focus on holding negligent providers accountable for the harm they caused. These claims also focus on securing monetary damages that compensate you for your losses fairly.
Damages in a Michigan medical malpractice claim typically fall into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are quantifiable financial losses and expenses. Common types of economic damages associated with Michigan medical malpractice claims include:
- Past and future medical expenses.
- Lost wages, including the value of wages you would have earned but cannot make because of your injuries.
- Caregiving and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Michigan medical malpractice law does not “cap” or limit economic damages. You may recover any economic damages you can prove in court.
Non-economic damages are harder to calculate. Even though it isn’t itemized on a bill, receipt, or pay stub, the intangible damage from medical malpractice can be devastating. Common types of non-economic damages associated with Michigan medical malpractice claims include:
- Physical pain and suffering caused by the medical error and resulting injury.
- Emotional trauma related to your injury, such as PTSD surrounding doctors and hospitals.
- The emotional impact of scarring or disfigurement associated with the medical error.
- The loss of the enjoyable life activities you can no longer participate in due to your injuries.
Michigan medical malpractice law limits non-economic damages. The limits are adjusted each year to account for inflation. Michigan has two caps for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
- The higher cap applies to cases that cause significant lifelong impairment, such as paraplegia, inability to participate in one’s own decision-making or carry out activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, or feeding oneself, or permanently losing the ability to procreate.
- The lower cap applies to all other types of medical malpractice claims.
An attorney can help you determine which cap should apply in your case and how to best present evidence supporting your claim.
Working With a Farmington Hills Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice claims are challenging. You may be managing both an underlying condition and the results of the harm caused by a medical error. Understandably, you may be wary of working with doctors or hospitals. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim may seem like more than you can bear, especially as you struggle to recover.
You need answers and transparency from an advocate you can trust. The experienced Farmington Hills medical malpractice lawyers at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. provide the support and guidance our clients need at every stage of the process. You deserve honest answers and explanations that make sense.
For more than 45 years, the experienced Farmington Hills medical malpractice attorneys at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. have helped clients figure out what happened and fight for the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been injured and you suspect medical malpractice, contact the experienced Farmington Hills medical malpractice injury attorneys at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. today. Your initial consultation with our office is always free and confidential.