When you or a loved one is sick or hurt, it can be difficult to know how to protect your rights as a patient. At Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, our Omaha medical malpractice lawyers not only advocate for your rights but will help you handle all of the challenging medical, emotional and legal questions surrounding your case.
Common types of medical malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a medical professional through that person’s professional negligence. Some common types of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical condition
- Failure to provide appropriate treatment for a medical condition
- An unreasonable delay in treating a medical condition
- Failure to gain informed consent from the patient
Don’t wait to contact an attorney
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to contact the Omaha medical malpractice lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop as soon as possible.
Medical malpractice cases are particularly detailed and require a tenacious advocate for the rights of the patient. That’s where we can help. We’ll make sure to follow any special requirements such as, filing time limits, review panels, special notices, expert testimony and damage limits.
Additional case requirements
To prove that medical malpractice occurred, the medical malpractice attorneys at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop will establish the following:
- A doctor-patient or medical provider-patient relationship existed, i.e. the health care provider was under a duty of care;
- The doctor or medical provider was negligent in that duty of care, either by their acts or failure to act;
- The doctor’s or medical provider’s negligence caused the injury.
- The injury led to specific damages suffered by the patient. Examples of damages include: physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills, and lost work and lost earning capacity.
No-cost initial consultation
Contact us today for a free initial consultation. Our Omaha medical malpractice lawyers will listen to your story, ask pertinent questions and give you an honest assessment of your case. If it merits legal action, we will represent you at no cost to you, collecting a fee only if you win your action.
Our Omaha medical malpractice lawyers are zealous advocates for people who have been injured because of the negligence or carelessness of other individuals or organizations, and we will represent your best interest with passion and purpose.
For your convenience, we offer home, hospital and nursing home visits. Our team of professionals at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop will provide you with the experience, strategy and commitment that protect your rights and claims.
Call today for free initial consultation on your case. No attorney fees unless you win.
Medical Malpractice Claim FAQ
How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Like other legal matters, medical malpractice claims are subject to a deadline known as the statute of limitations. The time you have to file a claim varies by state. In Nebraska, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits is 2 years from the date that the negligence occurred.
Nebraska law includes an exception to the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases. If the injury resulting from the negligence of a medical provider isn’t discovered within 2 years, you can still file suit within 1 year of when the injury was discovered (or should reasonably have been discovered).
The Nebraska legislature has also instituted an absolute prohibition on filing a medical malpractice claim more than 10 years after the negligence that resulted in injury – regardless of when the injury was discovered or should have been discovered.
How Are Medical Malpractice Claims Investigated?
A medical error is more than just a mistake. Instead, it represents a breach of the duty of care the doctor or other medical provider owes to the patient.
Our lawyers will investigate all aspects of the care you or your loved one received to determine if negligence caused the injuries. This includes obtaining key records such as:
- Your chart
- Your medical records
- Test results, including blood panels, urinalysis, and more
- X-rays and other imaging
- Notes and reports from doctors, nurses, surgeons, etc.
- Medication prescriptions
Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop has the resources to hire qualified experts to review these specialized records and provide testimony in support of your case. We will also investigate the provider, clinic, and/or hospital for prior allegations of malpractice.
What Is a Medical Review Panel?
Nebraska has a unique prerequisite before a medical malpractice claim can be filed. Your case must be evaluated by a medical review panel before it can proceed.
Medical panels consist of a minimum of three physicians: one selected by each of the parties in the case, and a third mutually agreed upon by the physicians selected by the parties. If a hospital is included in your claim, the hospital selects an administrator to sit on the panel. An attorney with no connection to the case who is licensed to practice in Nebraska advises the panel.
According to Nebraska Revised Statute 44-2842, the medical panel may review evidence such as “medical charts, X-rays, laboratory test results, excerpts of treatises, [and] depositions of witnesses including parties.” After reviewing the evidence, the panel must provide a decision within 30 days on whether the physician or provider failed to meet the standard of care.
The panel’s decision does not have a bearing on whether your case can move forward, and you do have the option to waive the medical panel review and move directly to filing suit. However, the panel’s report is admissible in court, and an opinion in your favor may help strengthen your case.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the medical review panel as it applies to your claim.
What Compensation Is Available in a Medical Negligence Claim?
Your medical malpractice claim should pursue compensation for all of the damages you and your family have sustained as a result of a doctor or other practitioner’s negligence. This may include:
- The cost of ongoing medical care
- Lost income
- Diminished earnings if your ability to work is affected
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Out-of-pocket costs
However, the amount you may be awarded is subject to several limitations. Nebraska has instituted damage caps limiting the total recovery in medical malpractice claims. The caps vary by the date of the negligence that caused the injury:
- $1.75 million cap for damages on malpractice that occurred between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2014
- $2.25 million cap for damages on malpractice that occurred on or after January 1, 2015
During your free consultation, the lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop. will review your case and discuss the type and amount of compensation that may be available in your medical malpractice claim.
Are Medical Malpractice Claims Different from Other Personal Injury Cases?
To put it simply, yes. Medical malpractice claims are generally much more complex than litigation related to car accidents and other types of personal injury claims.
As a result, it is very important to find a lawyer or law firm with the experience and resources to handle your case. The injuries in medical malpractice claims are often severe, sometimes resulting in long-term trauma starting from the first moments of life. The compensation pursued in medical malpractice claims is significant, which makes the negotiations with insurers more complicated. And, because of the complexity of medical evidence, knowledge and experience are key to prevailing in these claims.
Can I Sue If My Loved One Died as a Result of Medical Malpractice?
Tragically, death is a common outcome in cases of medical malpractice. Improper treatment, surgical errors, and failure to diagnose a life-threatening condition often prove fatal. If this worst-case scenario occurs and your loved one dies, you and your family may be entitled to compensation.
As in medical malpractice cases that result in injury, you have 2 years to file a wrongful death claim arising from the negligence of a doctor or other medical provider. If you suspect medical malpractice was a factor in your loved one’s death, it is important to contact a lawyer to start building your case as soon as possible.
Can I Handle a Medical Malpractice Claim Myself?
Although you do have the right to handle a medical malpractice case on your own, the odds of success are stacked against you. In addition to the complexities of medical malpractice litigation, doctors and other medical providers have a tendency to close ranks and protect one another when questions of liability arise.
Investigating a medical malpractice claim is time- and resource-intensive. When you are focused on caring for yourself or a family member, the last thing you should have to worry about is securing key evidence and handling legal procedure.
The medical malpractice lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can pursue the full compensation you and your family deserve. Call (402) 241-5020 today for a free review of your case. Our law firm serves clients in Omaha, Bellevue, and nearby areas of Nebraska and Iowa.