What You Need to Know Before You Bring a Medical Malpractice Case

Summary

Medical Malpractice (often nicknamed “Med Mal”) is a type of civil claim against a healthcare provider. A plaintiff may bring a medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider if the healthcare provider acted negligently in their diagnosis, care, or treatment of a patient and thus caused injury to the patient. 

In other words, an injured patient may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim if she feels her doctor did not meet the standard of care that is expected of healthcare professionals while the doctor was tending to her medical issue. This includes giving a patient the wrong medicine because the doctor was being careless, not following medical procedure to assess a well-known disease that could have been cured with early treatment, or even failing to adequately explain the risks of a procedure and getting informed consent from the patient. 

Elements

To bring a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must prove four elements. 

  1. The healthcare provider had a duty of care to the patient.
  2. The healthcare provider breached this duty.
  3. The patient suffered an injury.
  4. The patient’s injury was proximately caused by the healthcare provider’s breach of duty. 

Statute of Limitations

Medical malpractice claims are not available forever; the amount of time a plaintiff can bring a case has an expiration date, and this is called the statute of limitations. Due to the timely nature and complexity of medical malpractice claims, most victims of medical malpractice would benefit from hiring a skilled personal injury attorney who can help them navigate this process. 

In Kansas, a plaintiff only has two years from the date of injury or the date on which the plaintiff should have reasonably discovered the injury, to bring the medical malpractice claim. 

In Missouri, a plaintiff has two years to bring a medical malpractice case, and this two-year period begins on the date that the medical error occurred. Missouri has a few exceptions to that start date. First, if the negligent act was negligently permitting a foreign object to remain in the living body of a person, then the claim can be brought within two years from the date of the discovery of the alleged negligence, or from the date on which the patient, in the exercise of ordinary care, should have discovered such alleged negligence (whichever is first). In a Missouri medical malpractice case where the medical provider failed to inform the patient of the risks, the claim can be brought within two years from the date of discovery of such alleged negligent failure to inform, or from the date on which the patient, in the exercise of ordinary care, should have discovered such alleged negligence (whichever is first). The third Missouri exception applies when the person bringing the claim is a minor (less than 18 years old); that minor has until his or her twentieth birthday to bring the medical malpractice action. 

Do not let the statute of limitations prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve. 

Missouri only: Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider

Missouri requires that the medical malpractice plaintiff also file an affidavit of qualified health care provider within 90 days of filing the lawsuit. This affidavit states that the medical provider failed to treat the patient reasonably and that the failure to do so caused the plaintiff’s injuries. 

Damage Caps

Kansas and Missouri require non-economic damage caps for medical malpractice cases.

Damages are compensation for a plaintiff’s suffering, harm, or injury. Economic damages, which do not have a cap for these types of cases, are dollar amounts that one can calculate to a precise amount. Economic damages include past or future medical bills or the lost wages. 

Non-economic damages are compensation for injury that is not an objective dollar amount, such as pain and suffering, trouble sleeping, or depression, just to name a few, that can result from a medical malpractice injury. So, a damage cap is a limit on the amount of damages a plaintiff can receive for non-economic damage. 

Hire an Attorney

Medical malpractice can be very tricky and complex. This article only summarizes some components of this serious, time-consuming, and stressful type of case. If you are reading this, and you think there is a chance you have a medical malpractice case, you need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call Mark Grover today at 913-432-1000 to set up a free consultation. 

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


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