We entrust medical providers with one of our most precious things: our health. Unfortunately, doctors and other practitioners don’t always live up to this trust. They make mistakes much more frequently than most of us realize, with one prominent study calculating that “more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S.”
This is a staggering number. It means that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America behind heart disease and cancer.
That said, there are not nearly as many medical malpractice lawsuits filed each year. Most medical errors go unreported or undiscovered altogether, leaving victims of medical malpractice to deal with the repercussions without compensation.
If you believe you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of a doctor’s negligence, a medical malpractice attorney in Omaha can help you decide what to do next. Contact Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop today for a free review of your case.
Get an Accurate Diagnosis
If you suspect a medical provider has made an error in treating you, the first step you should take is to find another doctor. An error in treatment – whether it was a surgical error, misdiagnosis, unreasonable delay in treatment, or failure to gain consent – may require immediate medical attention. Prompt care by a competent provider can help prevent serious complications.
You should never try to work with your existing medical provider to correct a problem he or she caused. Doing so can make it difficult to argue later that the practitioner was negligent.
Document Your Symptoms
Medical malpractice cases are far more complex than most personal injury cases. To win, you must prove several key facts, including that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the doctor was negligent in their duty of care, that this negligence caused injury, and that the injury led to damages.
Proving each of these points requires a great deal of documentation. One of the most straightforward ways to show how a medical error has affected your life is to keep a daily journal about how you feel and function.
Make notes about the symptoms you are experiencing, when you receive medical treatment, what your doctors say, and any other information pertinent to your case. Keeping a journal is much better than relying on memory. It also creates a record your attorney can use to build your malpractice claim.
Gather Your Medical Records
Medical records document each aspect of a patient’s care. They include information concerning what tests doctors order, prescriptions, how the patient responds to treatment, and much more.
Your medical records may show that your doctor was negligent, but you are unlikely to catch it on your own. When you consult a medical malpractice attorney, a qualified professional can review the records and look for potential errors. Your lawyer will likely hire expert witnesses to perform an even more knowledgeable assessment of your medical records for evidence of malpractice.
Calculate Your Damages
Medical errors can have a devastating impact on the lives of victims and their families. This impact often goes well beyond the immediate costs of ongoing medical treatment. While this can be expensive and will likely make up a significant portion of your total damages, your attorney can help you account for all of the losses in your case.
Other types of economic damages in medical malpractice claims include lost wages and the loss of earning capacity (the loss of future wages if your medical injury prevents you from working). You may also be entitled to recovery of damages for additional costs, such as paying for home-based healthcare services, travel for medical appointments, modifications to your residence and vehicle, and more.
In addition, a medical malpractice attorney can help you account for the non-economic damages in your claim. Losses such as pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life do not have a direct financial cost. However, the emotional, psychological, and social toll of an injury caused by medical negligence should not be overlooked when building your claim.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Omaha
Medical malpractice claims are complicated. Patients may be unaware of a serious error for months or even years, making it difficult to identify how the injury occurred and who is responsible. When patients do bring claims, health networks and insurance companies alike typically “circle the wagons” in an effort to avoid paying fair compensation.
Given these challenges, it is crucial to work with a knowledgeable attorney if you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice. With more than 200 years of combined experience, the lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop know how to represent clients effectively in claims involving medical negligence. Our team will thoroughly evaluate your medical records, consult experts, calculate damages, and pursue the full compensation you deserve.
Please call (402) 241-5020 today to speak to a medical malpractice attorney in Omaha. Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop serves clients throughout Nebraska and Iowa.