Can People of All Ages Have A Medical Malpractice Case?
Errors made by healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, and surgeons account for roughly 10% of deaths in the U.S. every year. These mistakes also cause countless non-fatal injuries and immeasurable pain and suffering. Although no one wants to think that their doctor could make a serious mistake, the data clearly shows that medical malpractice is a major problem in this country.
Medical malpractice victims are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, it can be difficult to recover compensation because of the complexity of these cases. There are several different factors that could affect the outcome of your case. But, is your age one of these factors? Here’s what you need to know:
The Different Forms of Medical Malpractice
Before learning about the role the victim’s age plays in these cases, it’s important to learn about the different types of malpractice. Misdiagnosis is the most common type of medical malpractice that occurs in the U.S. Misdiagnosis, which is also called failure to diagnosis, occurs when a healthcare provider does not accurately diagnose a patient. These mistakes can be made everywhere, but they are especially common in emergency room settings since healthcare providers must see a large volume of patients in a short amount of time.
Prescription medication errors are also common. These errors can occur when a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist accidentally prescribes the wrong type of medication or the wrong amount of medication. Errors can also be made during the administration of the medication. For instance, a nurse could administer the wrong amount of medication or administer the medication incorrectly.
Surgeons can also make errors while performing surgical procedures on their patients. Operating on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong part of the patient’s body, or not using sterile tools to perform the surgery are all examples of this type of medical malpractice.
These are just a few of the many mistakes that healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, surgeons, and dentists can make.
The Key to Recovering Compensation in Medical Malpractice Cases
Recovering compensation in a medical malpractice is never easy. To win this type of case, the victim must be able to prove three elements. The first element is the relationship between the victim and the defendant. To prove this element, the victim must show that the defendant was a healthcare provider entrusted with caring for the victim at the time malpractice was committed.
Second, the victim must show that the healthcare provider was negligent. This does not mean that you must prove that the healthcare provider made a mistake–it’s much complicated than that. The victim must prove that another reasonable and competent doctor would not have made the same mistakes under similar circumstances. This can often be proven with the help of expert medical witnesses.
Victims cannot recover compensation simply because they successfully proved the healthcare provider was negligent. To recover compensation, they must be able to show that they were injured as a direct result of the healthcare provider’s negligence. For example, let’s say you were misdiagnosed as a result of a doctor’s failure to order the appropriate tests. But, you decided to get a second opinion from another doctor who ordered the appropriate tests and made the correct diagnosis. Because you went to another doctor, the first doctor’s mistake did not cause you harm. Therefore, you would not be entitled to compensation for the doctor’s negligence.
The Impact of Age on Medical Malpractice Claims
Victims of any age could suffer at the hands of a negligent healthcare provider. All victims have the right to file a medical malpractice claim, but it’s important to understand how your age could affect your case.
Your age could affect the amount of compensation you are awarded in a medical malpractice case. Why? Many medical malpractice victims are awarded damages for lost wages, which means they are compensated for income they have lost as a result of their injuries. Victims can also be compensated for income they expect to lose in the future due to the injuries. Since many older victims are retired, they cannot claim they have lost income because of their injuries. Older victims who are not retired quite yet are still closer to retirement than younger victims, which means they will not be awarded as much for their future lost wages either.
This is not the only way age can affect a medical malpractice claim. Healthcare providers who are accused of medical malpractice could argue that the victim was only hurt because of their age, not because of a medical error.
For example, say an older adult suffers complications while undergoing a surgical procedure. The victim files a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon for failing to prevent the complications. In court, the surgeon could argue that older adults are at a greater risk of complications than younger adults. Therefore, the argument could be made that the complications occurred as a result of the victim’s age, not the surgeon’s negligence. This defense is not always successful, but if it is, it could be used to deny the victim compensation.
There’s no doubt that age affects medical malpractice cases. But, this does not mean that older adults should feel as if they do not have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. It is possible for older adults to recover compensation in this type of case, but they must work with an experienced attorney.
If you have been injured by a negligent healthcare provider, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact Carpenter & Zuckerman today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers. Let our compassionate attorneys fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
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