Medical malpractice incidents are a major source of serious injuries. Every year, thousands of patients across the City of Birmingham and around the State of Alabama wrongfully die or are permanently injured from medical malpractice mistakes or suffer from misdiagnosed conditions and other preventable medical errors. Thousands are injured, and far too many die from unnecessary surgeries, incorrectly performed surgeries, medication errors, nursing mistakes, failures to communicate, and the failure to properly diagnose and treat medical conditions.
In such cases, the assistance of an Alabama medical malpractice attorney is necessary. At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann we help medical malpractice victims gain just compensation for their losses through civil courts in Alabama. If you or a loved one have been injured due to medical malpractice, contact us at (205) 322-8880 for a free, no-obligation consultation to determine your legal rights and options.
Every healthcare professional must perform their duties within the applicable industry “standard of care.” When a healthcare provider fails to follow the applicable standard of care, it is known as Medical Malpractice or Med Negligence.
Under Alabama law, Medical Malpractice occurs when someone is injured by a healthcare provider’s failure to follow the standard of care. The standard of care is that level of reasonable care, skill, and diligence that others similarly situated in the same general line of practice usually follow in the same or similar circumstances.
For instance, suppose that under the typical medical standard of care, a doctor was supposed to notify a patient of a lab result which would lead to a cancer diagnosis. If they failed to meet this standard and didn’t notify the patient, and the patient was harmed as a result, there may be a basis for a medical malpractice suit.
Medical malpractice can involve a wide range of errors and situations. Many of these can lead to serious injury, long-term medical conditions, or even fatalities. Common examples of incidents that can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit include:
- Failure to order proper testing
- Misinterpreting or failing to recognize and act upon certain symptoms
- Failure to diagnose a medical condition
- Ignoring or misreading lab results
- Administering the wrong medication or dosage
- Surgical errors, such as performing on the wrong site
- Performing an unnecessary surgery
- Premature discharge of a patient
- Disregarding a patient’s medical history
- Leaving a sponge or foreign object in a patient’s body after surgery
- Poor follow-up treatment
- Failing to communicate with a patient
In many cases, medical malpractice can overlap with other legal issues. For instance, if a doctor knowingly used a defective medical device, it could lead to a medical malpractice claim. Understanding how liability works in a medical malpractice case can be difficult and typically requires the assistance of an Alabama medical malpractice attorney.
Since medical malpractice can take so many forms, the types of resulting injuries are also broad. Common medical malpractice injuries include:
- Childbirth injuries
- Progression of an illness to a more serious or terminal condition, such as with cancer
- Excessive bleeding
- Edema, swelling, and inflammation
- Damaged nerves, tissues, or organs
- Adverse reactions to medications
- Loss of control over bodily functions
- Heart attack or stroke
The tragic part about these injuries is that they frequently happen in addition to whatever medical condition the person was seeking treatment for in the first place. Medical malpractice injuries can cause increased hospital costs and health insurance costs, and may lead to the necessity of governmental assistance. They can also lead to longer recovery and rehabilitation time, and permanent life changes for the patient and their family.
This is why the assistance of a qualified Alabama medical malpractice lawyer is so important. An experienced Alabama medical malpractice attorney can help the injured person or his/her family obtain the compensation they are entitled to.
Medical malpractice injuries can place heavy financial burdens on the victim and their families. While no amount of money can fully undo the damage done by negligence, a damages award can cover the victim’s losses and help them move forward to a better quality of life.
A competent medical malpractice lawyer can help a victim of medical negligence recover damages for:
- Additional medical expenses needed to correct the malpractice errors
- Permanent injuries and disfigurement
- Treatments not covered by regular insurance
- Costs related to new changes in the person’s life, such as the installation of a wheelchair ramp at home
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, in certain cases
The amount of damages awarded depends on many factors, including the nature and extent of the injuries, as well as the skill of the attorneys handling the case.
Based on our experience, our attorneys understand that not every bad result means a healthcare professional is guilty of malpractice. We are adept at analyzing potential medical malpractice cases and can quickly identify and aggressively pursue legal remedies, if necessary. Where appropriate, our attorneys will consult with medical experts and notify you of whether we believe that we can recover compensation on your behalf.
When proving a medical malpractice case, it is necessary to:
- Determine the medical standard of care that should have been applied under the patient’s circumstances
- Show how the doctor or health care provider failed to provide treatment in line with that standard of care
- Prove that the doctor’s failure caused the patient’s injuries
These steps can be complex and will require sufficient evidence to prove. One of our Alabama medical malpractice attorneys will be able to assess the facts of your case and determine which parties are liable, whether they be the doctor, nurses, staff, or others.
If you or someone you know was the victim of medical malpractice, contact the Alabama medical malpractice attorneys of Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann today. Our clients come first, and we believe each one deserves compassion, kindness, courtesy, and respect.
Our office is centrally located in Birmingham, Alabama, right next to the Jefferson County courthouse. We have represented clients in every county in Alabama. We understand the complexities of medical malpractice claims and can thus fight for the true projected value of a victim’s losses in court, providing families with maximum compensation.
If you or a loved one have suffered injury due to a medical malpractice issue, contact us today at (205) 322-8880 for a free consultation. We do what it takes to win and outwork the defense in every way.
At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann, we take pride in the work we put in for our clients. When it comes to medical malpractice case results, our track record speaks for itself. Below are a few notable outcomes from cases we have handled:
$7 Million Verdict, Later Settled Confidentially
Our attorneys helped obtain a $7 million award in favor of a plaintiff who passed away as a result of a tumor diagnosis error. The case was later settled according to a confidential agreement.
$3.5 Million Verdict for a Wrongful Death Case
Our firm was able to help our client obtain a $3.5 million jury award in connection with a wrongful death claim stemming from failed medical treatment.
What is the statute of limitations on medical malpractice in Alabama?
The statute of limitations is the time period in which you have to file a malpractice claim. In the state of Alabama, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is, generally, two (2) years (Code of Alabama section 6-5-482). This means that you have two years from the date of the medical error to file a malpractice suit in Alabama. However, there are some exceptions and other nuances that require the correct evaluation by an experienced Alabama medical malpractice lawyer.
If you could not have reasonably known about the medical malpractice within two (2) years of the error, then you may have up to six (6) months after you discover it to file a lawsuit.
In the case of a minor child under four (4) years of age, such minor child shall have until his/her eighth (8th) birthday to file a lawsuit.
Once this filing window is closed, you won’t be able to pursue legal action, so be sure to contact an Alabama medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect that you have a claim.
Does Alabama have a cap on medical malpractice damages awards?
Alabama medical malpractice law once placed a cap or limit of $400,000 for compensatory damages awards and a $1 million total limit on malpractice awards. Eventually, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that these limits were unconstitutional.
On the other hand, Alabama law does place a limit on punitive damage awards in a medical malpractice claim to three times the main compensatory award or $1,500,000, whichever is greater. Punitive damages are typically issued in cases where intentional or extremely negligent conduct is involved.
How does a medical malpractice lawsuit work?
To begin the legal process for a medical malpractice lawsuit, the injured person must first file a complaint. This filing starts the lawsuit and sets the process in motion.
Unlike other states, Alabama does not require that medical malpractice complaints be accompanied by an affidavit of merit (a document verifying the merits of the case). However, the malpractice complaint must include:
- A detailed description of each action (or each inaction) that triggered the doctor or health care provider’s liability
- The place, date, and time of each action or inaction
An Alabama medical malpractice lawyer can help with these steps, including filing the complaint and providing any accompanying documents or forms needed. From there, the parties will present their evidence, and a judge will determine the appropriate legal remedy based on the evidence.
How can an Alabama medical malpractice lawyer help me with a lawsuit?
Med malpractice lawsuits can involve a complex mix of personal injury legal issues and can involve many parties. Issues like damages can be challenging to prove in court, and legal representation is necessary when dealing with these claims.An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help ensure success by handling legal matters such as:
- Gathering and reviewing evidence to support the claim
- Interviewing witnesses and obtaining expert testimony
- Preparing the documents and statements needed for trial
- Generating a strong, impactful case strategy
- Negotiating for the best possible compensation
Get in touch with us at (205) 322-8880 if you believe you have a case. We work hard to make the legal process as smooth as possible and lighten our clients’ load during challenging times. Our reputation for integrity has helped us to be one of the most successful injury firms in Alabama. We have extensive experience in handling complex jury trials on behalf of our clients.