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Can You Deduct Your Legal Fees?

If you have to pay a lawyer for their services, you’ll likely be interested making it less expensive in most any way you can. There are some legal fees that are tax deductible, but these types of legal fees tend to have to do with taxes themselves and finance, rather than with personal legal bills. […]

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Medical Malpractice Claim Tips

Medical malpractice claims are among the most intimidating lawsuits to pursue. First and foremost, you’re having your medical information revealed in court, which isn’t a very pleasant experience for most people. Second, you’re going up against medical doctors and experts who will fight you at every step of the way. The following information might help […]

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Florida May Toughen Malpractice Requirements

Tough New Malpractice Requirements

Florida Governor Rick Scott will have the last say on a malpractice bill that has passed in the Florida state senate and house. The bill, Senate Bill 1792, would make considerable changes to the way that patients are able to file for malpractice in that state. The changes the bills bring about have riled opponents. Supporters claim that the bill will make Florida more amicable to physicians and increase patient options.

The Changes in Senate Bill 1792

The changes that the bill entails have some patient advocates alarmed. One provision of the bill allows a physician’s defense team to inquire with other healthcare providers for the patient filing the lawsuit. The bill changes the law so that this is not considered to be a breach of the patient’s privacy, something that advocates are very concerned about. The supporters of the bill say that filing a medical malpractice suit makes inquiring about matters that would have formerly been protected by patient/provider privacy appropriate.

The other provision of the bill creates stricter requirements for experts who testify in malpractice claims. The new legislation would require that experts be practitioners of the exact type of medicine involved in the lawsuit, according to Clinical Advisor. This means that it could be much harder for patients and their attorneys to get experts to testify on their behalf.

The bill is similar to other efforts that have been taken up by other state legislatures. The idea behind the bill is that malpractice claims drive up the cost of healthcare and make states unattractive places for doctors to practice. In Texas, where a similar set of changes has been put into effect, has shown that the effects – attracting more doctors, lowering the cost of healthcare, etc. – have not manifested in the wake of that state’s legislation.

What This Means For Attorneys

Malpractice claims oftentimes hinge on expert testimony. Changes to the law brought about by this bill may make it very hard for attorneys to find experts who qualify to testify in their cases, making it harder for plaintiffs to pursue their claims. The bill is backed by the Florida Medical Association. Support for the bill was largely along party lines, with Republicans backing the bill and Democratic representatives opposing it. Some Republicans, however, did express concern over the bill, particularly with those parts that allow the defense counsel to access formerly private medical information to support their defense of their clients.

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Amputation Leads to Malpractice Lawsuit

A man whose gangrenous toe was not treated in time ended up having to go through a below-the-knee amputation due to the spread of the infection, according to a lawsuit. The lawsuit, reported in SETexasRecord.com, was filed in Jefferson County over an incident that occurred in 2009.

The lawsuit alleges that the patient went to a podiatry clinic with gangrene in his toe. There was no treatment offered at that time, according to the report, and, upon a later visit, the toe was amputated. The infection had spread and, a week after the operation, the patient was forced to have his leg amputated below the knee due to that infection. The lawsuit alleges that the patient’s condition was not treated in time. The patient suffered from diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and renal disease.

The patient in this claim is suing for the medical expenses he endured, pain, impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish and lost wages.

Malpractice Lawsuits

Right now in Texas, medical malpractice lawsuits are the subject of heated political debates. This tends to create a situation where most of the information in the media about medical malpractice lawsuits have to do with politics than it has to do with the patients who are wronged by physicians. This lawsuit has yet to be heard, but there are many instances when patients do not receive the care that they need in a timely fashion and who do, therefore, end up going through much more serious and disfiguring treatments to deal with the consequences of that. In many cases, these are the same instances where those patients end up hiring a personal injury attorney to represent them.

Are they Frivolous?

It is likely that some people are considering political dimensions when they are considering whether they should file a medical malpractice claim. A medical malpractice claim, in reality, is not a political thing. A medical malpractice claim is a patient’s right when a doctor is in breach of their duty to that patient. In some cases, the breach of duty is egregious and the patient ends up suffering horrendous pain, disfigurement or permanent impairment because of that malpractice.

Medical malpractice claims can help people who were injured by negligent physicians to recover the costs of their medical treatments, their lost wages, compensation for their pain and suffering and more. These lawsuits are oftentimes the only ways that patients have to get any compensation at all for what they’ve been put through.

If you are considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, talk to a Houston personal injury attorney about the matter. Don’t worry about what media or politicians have to say about medical malpractice lawsuits; if you are injured, they are among your rights and sometimes are your best option.

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Doctor Gets Hit with $6 Million Jury Award

A doctor in Fayetteville will have to pay $6 million over a wrongful death lawsuit, according to SFGate.

This lawsuit is similar to many others, though still tragic. The doctor in question, according to the lawsuit, left a surgical sponge in the deceased woman’s body after closing a surgery. The sponge remained there for 10 weeks. This led to the woman suffering from infections and other ailments.

The woman was receiving the surgery to remove cancer from her colon and her rectum. Because she became ill after the surgery, she was unable to go through other cancer treatments.

Botched Surgeries

Surgery is far more advanced today than it was even a decade ago. Some surgeries that were formerly life-threatening ordeals are now actually rather safe, relatively speaking. There is still the potential that a surgery can go catastrophically wrong, however, and sometimes it does because of physician negligence. The unfortunate woman whose death spurred the lawsuit described above is not the only person to have an instrument left in her body following a surgery.

Some surgeries are not botched in this manner, but are incorrect for the condition that’s being treated or are the wrong surgery entirely. These surgeries, even when they don’t end up taking someone’s life, cause all of the trauma, distress and financial hardships that go along with having any surgery, and sometimes cause those things to a much more significant degree.

Getting Help

If you find out that something was done incorrectly during a surgery and it requires a surgical correction to fix the problem itself, you’re obviously in a very bad situation and one that was not any of your own doing. You’ll be out wages from missed work, there will be pain and suffering involved and it may mean that an existing condition doesn’t’ get the treatment it needs or that it actually gets worse.

Consider contacting an attorney if you’ve been the victim of this type of malpractice. The attorney, if you have a good claim, can get started on filing your case and make sure you don’t end up missing your window of opportunity to sue. A good Houston medical malpractice lawyer will be able to go figure out who was responsible for the negligence that brought you to suffer and can help you figure out how much to seek in damages. Talk to an attorney today; the initial consultation is generally free of charge.

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Negligent Physicians not Being Sanctioned: Report

Public Citizen, a citizen advocacy organization, has conducted a study revealing that 459 physicians working in Texas who have been sanctioned by hospitals and other healthcare providers have not been disciplined by the state medical board. According to a report in KXAN, a letter was sent to Governor Rick Perry detailing the results of the finding. The study was conducted by analyzing 21 years of data collected in the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Not Following Standards

The report details that the state medical board does not receive all of the funding generated by fees and fines. In fact, according to the report, even though $30 million are collected annually, the board only receives one third of that amount.

The report also details that there are open cases that date back as far as 2005. In total, the report found that 454 cases had been open for one year or more. The KXAN report goes on to detail that some of the disciplinary actions taken by healthcare facilities were for rather egregious infractions. They include sexual misconduct, endangering the lives of patients, negligence, drug abuse and alcohol abuse and insurance fraud, among other infractions.

Some of the malpractice claims that these physicians faced included failure to treat, failure to diagnose, performing unnecessary procedures and even wrongful death. With the state authority charged with overseeing doctors receiving only a third of the funding that it collects, many of these cases remain open and unresolved. Of course, that also means that any disciplinary actions that the state could take against these physicians are not being taken and that they may well continue to represent a threat to their patients.

Medical Malpractice

Fixing a broken regulatory system is a political task, but medical malpractice is a legal issue. Whenever a physician takes you on as a patient, they have an obligation to provide you with competent care, accurate diagnosis and to adhere to certain ethical guidelines. When they do not, one of your options for rectifying the situation is seeking compensation via a lawsuit. Texas does have limitations on how much you can be awarded in a medical malpractice claim, but a skillful Houston medical malpractice attorney can ensure that you maximize your chances of winning your claim.

Filing a Claim

The first step in filing a medical malpractice claim is speaking with an attorney. If you’re not sure whether or not you do have a viable claim, an attorney can give you guidance in this matter. Because most medical malpractice attorneys work on contingency, they’ll have no interest in taking a claim that they don’t think is going to win. If they take your claim, you can be certain that they believe it is valid and that it could win in front of a jury.

 

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When Medical Malpractice May Apply

Medical malpractice lawsuits are sometimes the only ways that the victims of malpractice or their survivors have to get compensation for the negligence of a doctor or a healthcare facility. Understanding when medical negligence may be an issue is imperative. The number one thing to remember is that, if you even suspect negligence, you should talk to an attorney about the matter as soon as possible. Here, however, are some things that you may want to consider.

Failure to Diagnose

Almost half of the medical malpractice claims filed every year involve failure to diagnose in one form or another. It’s important to understand how failure to diagnose can affect a patient.

Failure to diagnose can occur in scenarios that involve a regular visit to a doctor or an emergency room visit. The main thing these claims generally involve is that the doctor missed something that they should’ve caught and, because of that, their patient was brought to harm. An example would be an emergency room doctor failing to diagnose a serious trauma injury that later went on to cause the victim a great deal of financial and personal harm.

It’s important to remember that, if you deliberately concealed information from a doctor that may have led to them making the correct diagnosis, medical malpractice may not apply. For instance, if you were suffering all of the symptoms of diabetes and didn’t tell your physician and the physician didn’t run any tests to determine whether or not you had diabetes, it would be very difficult to argue that the physician is at all responsible for that. Failure to diagnose applies when the doctor should have known but did not.

Wrong Treatments

The incorrect treatment or surgery for a condition can end up causing a great deal of harm to patients. Being given the wrong treatment is one of the most common reasons that people file a medical malpractice claim. Not only may the treatment itself – particularly if it is a surgery – cause the patient to go through pain and suffering, loss of wages, physical harm, mental trauma and other hardships, it may cause the condition they actually had to worsen. If your physician has ordered an incorrect treatment for you and if you have suffered because of it, you should speak with an attorney.

What if You Don’t Know?

Again, speaking with an attorney is the best move if you’re not sure whether or not you were the victim of medical malpractice. A Houston medical malpractice attorney will be able to listen to your story and determine if it seems like medical malpractice was an issue in how you came to harm. This area of the law is particularly complex and, in Texas, it has been changed in recent years. You’ll want to make certain that you find an attorney who understands this law to a very exacting degree and who is willing to sit down and listen to you during a consultation. Consultations are usually free, so there’s no harm in calling an attorney and asking if you could meet with them.

 

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Malpractice and Practitioners

If you go to a hospital, you’ll be handled by many different people and many of those people will belong to different departments. It’s important to understand that malpractice lawsuits can be brought against individuals other than your attending physician. For example, an article in Diagnostic Imaging details a claim that was brought against a radiologist, which is likely not the first person that somebody who has been the victim of medical malpractice would think to sue.

Failure to Communicate

In the claim detailed in the article, a radiologist was sued for malpractice in 2011 in Pennsylvania due to failing to communicate important information to the patient. The patient had one chest x-ray done, which showed, according to the article, increased density in the lungs.

The problem came after a second x-ray was recommended and taken. The results of that x-ray was never given to the patient, who ended up suffering with inoperable lung cancer.

In order for patients receive quality, competent care, all of the different departments within a healthcare facility have to communicate with one another, and with that the patient, effectively. In some instances, situations where hospital staff does not communicate with one another can end up in disaster, as is detailed in the case above.

Suing

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice, you may actually wonder whom it is you would sue. You may know that you got treated poorly by healthcare a facility, but speaking with the lawyer may reveal surprising information about who would ultimately be as possible for the negligence that caused you to suffer. In some cases, it may be the radiologist. It may also be the healthcare facility itself, an ER technician who did not take enough time to notice that you had a serious problem or someone else involved in your healthcare who failed you.

There are limitations on how long you have to file a medical malpractice claim after the incident has occurred. If you believe that you may have been the victim of medical malpractice, you should speak with an attorney, whether or not you’re even considering suing. Attorneys generally offer free consultations and, at those consultations, they’ll be able to get any of their questions answered and to see if there is information that they need to follow up on. They can determine from this whether or not it seems logical for you to sue and why.

If it’s unclear how a healthcare provider failed you, ask an attorney what they think. Even if it doesn’t persuade you to go ahead and sue or convince you not to sue at all, you’ll at least have an expert opinion to work with when you decide whether or not a healthcare facility or someone within it owes you compensation.

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Q & A

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Liability

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  • Baby Toy Recalls

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    Premise liability claims are usually filed when a property owner was negligent and where that negligence led to someone being hurt unnecessarily. The owner of a commercial property has a […]

  • Liability Law and Motorcycle Accidents

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  • Compensation for Injuries from Burns and Explosions

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  • Product Liability Tips

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