As patients, we expect that the healthcare professionals who treat us will make us better, not cause us harm. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, anesthetists, and other medical professionals are legally required to uphold a specific standard of care. When they fail to provide it, they could be held responsible for the injuries they cause through a medical malpractice claim.
Some people mistakenly believe that merely being dissatisfied with the outcome of a treatment may qualify them to file a malpractice claim. In actuality, a claim is valid only if the medical professional failed to meet standard of care, and the patient was harmed as a result.
Did you suffer serious injuries or was your loved one killed as the result of a negligent medical error in Alabama? If so, make sure that you hire a legal team that can identify medical malpractice and work to hold the healthcare professional or facility accountable for the harm you’ve suffered.
Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., has more than a century of combined legal experience and has been serving people in communities all over the greater Florence area since 1966. Call us or contact us online to receive a free consultation and advice about your best legal options
What Is Medical Malpractice in Florence, AL?
Medical malpractice is when a doctor, nurse, or other medical provider or facility’s negligence causes injury to a patient. Alabama Code § 6-5-551 provides that any action for injury, damages, or wrongful death against a health care provider for breach of the standard of care or the hiring, training, supervision, retention, or termination of caregivers will be governed by the Alabama Medical Liability Act.
Alabama Code § 6-5-551 also states that a person filing a medical malpractice action must include “a detailed specification and factual description of each act and omission alleged by plaintiff to render the health care provider liable to plaintiff and shall include when feasible and ascertainable the date, time, and place of the act or acts.” Failure to include detailed specification and factual description can lead to a claim being dismissed.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice & Injuries in Florence
Medical malpractice can involve a wide variety of different claims. Some of the most common allegations include:
- Surgical errors
- Lack of informed consent
- Failure to follow guidelines
- Hospital negligence
- Failure to diagnose
- Emergency room errors
- Delayed diagnosis
- Prescription drug errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Brain damage
- Retained foreign objects after surgery
- Birth injuries
- Bacterial infections
- Failure to adequately treat
- Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
It is important to note that Alabama does not require plaintiffs to supply the affidavit of merit or similar document from a medical expert that is required in some other states to commence medical malpractice actions.
Injuries Commonly Caused by Medical Negligence in Florence
The injuries people suffer as the result of medical malpractice can be very complicated in some cases. Not all kinds of injuries are immediately apparent, and this can factor into the time limits for filing certain cases.
Alabama Code § 6-5-482 typically provides two years for a person to file a personal injury action, but there is an important exception often referred to as the “discovery rule.” This exception allows a person up to six months to file a claim when they learn about an injury that was not capable of being discovered during the two-year limitations period. This exception may be applicable in cases involving foreign objects being left inside patients, for example.
Common birth injuries in medical malpractice claims include cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries, or forceps injuries. Patients can suffer other injuries that may include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries, or other forms of permanent damage because of professional negligence. Certain surgical errors, medication errors, or anesthesia errors can have fatal complications.
Proving a Medical Negligence Claim in Florence
Proving medical malpractice usually involves proving each of the following:
- Duty of Care — The medical professional or entity had an obligation to the patient to maintain a standard of care.
- Breach of Duty — The medical professional or entity breached that duty of care by departing from the standard of care.
- Causation — That breach of duty caused the patient to suffer injuries.
- Damages — The patient’s injuries resulted in damages.
Alabama Code § 6-5-548 establishes that in any action for injury or damages or wrongful death against a health care provider for breach of the standard of care, the plaintiff must prove by “substantial evidence” that the defendant “failed to exercise such reasonable care, skill, and diligence as other similarly situated health care providers in the same general line of practice ordinarily have and exercise in a like case.”
While no affidavit of merit is required in medical malpractice cases in Alabama, it is still usually beneficial to get a qualified expert who can attest to a defendant’s failure to provide a suitable level of care. These are often expert witnesses who can be called on if a case goes to trial.
Who Could Be Liable in a Florence Medical Malpractice Claim?
Medical malpractice actions can also be complicated because it may be possible that multiple parties share liability for your injuries. Some cases may be limited to a single doctor or hospital, but other cases can involve multiple parties being negligent.
The possibility of multiple defendants often makes it critical for a victim to work with an experienced attorney. In such cases, one defendant may attempt to deny liability by transferring all of the blame to another party, but a lawyer will know how to make sure every responsible party is held accountable.
When to Contact a Florence Lawyer About a Medical Negligence Claim
You should not delay when you think that you have a medical malpractice claim in Alabama. While the discovery rule might provide you an additional six months in the even that you do not file a claim within two years, state law also provides a statute of repose, which is the date after which no claims can be filed, of four years for medical malpractice actions.
You need to contact a Florence personal injury attorney at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., right away because our firm will immediately be able to begin conducting a thorough investigation of your case. This will allow us to preserve important evidence that could be critical later on.
How Can a Medical Injury Attorney in Florence at Morris King & Hodge, P.C., Law Help Me?
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed by medical malpractice in Florence or surrounding areas of Alabama, do not wait to seek legal representation. Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., as soon as possible.
Harvey B. Morris was named Lawyer of the Year in the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers in America, Joe A. King, Jr. was named Best Attorney by Best Attorneys in America in 2016, and David J. Hodge has been listed twice as one of the top 50 lawyers in Alabama by Super Lawyers magazine. You can have our lawyers review your case when you call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.