Many people mistakenly believe that medical malpractice occurs whenever a doctor makes a mistake. Medical malpractice refers to the failure of any medical care professional to provide the proper degree of care, skill, and diligence that would be used by others under similar circumstances. Harmful, injurious, and fatal actions by medical care providers as well as the failure to act constitute medical malpractice. Despite this simple definition, medical malpractice, like medicine itself, is very complicated. Medical malpractice can be very difficult to prove, which means it’s always best to contact an experienced attorney to handle a medical malpractice case.
Statute of Limitations
One of the most important reasons to contact an attorney right away is that Oregon has a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. In Oregon, you have two years from the date of an injury to file a claim. If you believe an injury caused by medical malpractice resulted in a person’s death, a lawsuit must be filed within three years of that injury or date of death, but no more than five years from the date of injury. Only an attorney with experience in handling medical malpractice cases will understand the best ways to pursue your case.
Legal Standards of Proof
As has been discussed on this blog before, the law sets out several requirements a person must prove in order to be successful in a medical malpractice case. They must prove that the medical care provider had a “duty,” or legal responsibility to the victim. They must prove that the medical care provider “breached” his or her duty to the victim. The victim must prove that they were harmed. Finally, they must prove that the medical care provider’s breach of duty was the cause of the patient’s harm. Each of these four elements is best handled by a qualified, experienced attorney. The attorney must have the ability to demonstrate each element well enough to satisfy the law’s rigorous standards.
Perhaps the most important reason for hiring an experienced attorney to handle your medical malpractice case is that they are best able to prove and recover damages. In Oregon, victims of medical malpractice are entitled to recover economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages refer to any medical bills, medical costs, and lost wages which resulted from the injury. Noneconomic damages refer to pain and suffering as well as loss of consortium. Insurance companies representing medical institutions will often attempt to settle cases to minimize the damages that are paid out. If you have an attorney representing you, you’ll be able to determine whether or not the potential settlement is a good option.
If you have questions or believe you have a medical malpractice case and would like to discuss it with the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, feel free to give us a call or contact us through our website.