Olathe Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Kansas and Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
What is medical malpractice?
In performing professional services for a patient, a doctor or other health care provider has a duty to use that degree of skill and learning ordinarily used by members of his or her profession. Failure to comply with this standard can constitute malpractice.
Ordinarily a doctor is not liable for damages just because there is a bad result. In order for there to be liability for negligence, the doctor or provider must have failed to use the required degree of skill or learning and therefore departed from the standard of care.
Has my doctor committed malpractice?
In some cases, the malpractice of a treating doctor is obvious. For example, if a doctor leaves a surgical instrument in a patient after surgery, this is almost certainly malpractice. However, usually the question is not nearly so easy to answer.
The medical records must be carefully reviewed in order to determine whether the treating physician or other provider committed malpractice. These issues can be very complicated, and experts almost always disagree as to whether the standard of care was violated.
Another very important issue in medical malpractice cases is causation. In other words, assuming the doctor or other provider was negligent, did that negligence actually cause the resulting damage, or would the bad result have happened anyway?
Because expert testimony is almost always needed, malpractice cases are very expensive and time consuming. They should not be undertaken lightly, and as a general rule, the damages suffered by the plaintiff must be substantial in order to justify the cost involved in a malpractice case.
What time limits apply?
In general, in Kansas and Missouri, medical malpractice cases must be brought within two years of the negligent act of the doctor or health care provider. Some exceptions, however, do apply. For example, in cases in which an injury is not reasonably discoverable until some time after the initial negligent act, the two year period may begin to run in some cases when the injury is or should have been discovered. However, Kansas law provides that the claim can probably never be brought more than four years after the negligent conduct occurred.
Kansas law provides that a minor under the age of 18 who is the victim of malpractice can bring his or her claim until his or her 19th birthday except that the claim must be brought within eight years after the negligent act of the doctor or provider.
In Missouri, a minor who is the victim of medical malpractice can bring a claim until his or her twentieth birthday.
There are many detailed rules regarding time limits in medical malpractice cases which are subject to change at any time. There are also hundreds of court decisions interpreting these rules. You should talk to an experienced attorney carefully about time limits with regard to malpractice or any other civil claim. And remember, time is of the essence, so talk to an attorney and pursue your legal rights without delay.
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