Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Posted On September 21, 2022 Medical Malpractice
doctor in consultation with a patient reading from a clipboard

If you or a loved one suffered an adverse outcome while receiving medical care, you might be wondering if you have a viable claim for medical malpractice. An experienced Middletown medical malpractice lawyer can investigate to determine whether the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional caused you harm.

Medical malpractice litigation is complicated. It is of the utmost importance to consult a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that your rights are preserved.

Please contact The Flood Law Firm by calling (860) 346-2695 today to speak to a Middletown medical malpractice lawyer for FREE. Our attorneys serve clients throughout Connecticut.

How Long Do I Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice in Connecticut?

Before you can bring a medical malpractice claim, you need to ensure that the statute of limitations has not expired. The statute of limitations is the time limit for pursuing legal action.

Connecticut General Statutes § 52-584 sets the statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions at 2 years. As a rule, you have 2 years from the date you suffered injury to make a claim against “a physician, surgeon, dentist, podiatrist, chiropractor, advanced practice registered nurse, hospital or sanatorium.”

However, there are circumstances where the statute of limitations may be extended. Namely, you might have longer to bring a medical malpractice claim if the injury was “discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered” more than 2 years after the fact.

The effects of medical malpractice are not always immediately apparent. If you believe that medical negligence resulted in an injury that was not discovered until more than 2 years has elapsed, it is still in your best interest to speak to a Middletown medical malpractice lawyer to ascertain whether or not you have a case.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim

If you or a member of your family suffered injury as a result of negligence on the part of a doctor or other healthcare provider, you may have a viable claim for medical malpractice. Broadly speaking, there are 4 key elements patients need to prove for a medical malpractice claim to move forward. These include:

1. A Doctor-Patient Relationship

You need to establish that you sought care from the medical provider in question and the doctor or other professional agreed to treat you. This can be readily established through the intake forms you sign and other paperwork establishing that you are a patient.

A duty of care is imposed on medical professionals who treat patients. The duty of care is a legal obligation to avoid actions or omissions (i.e., inaction) that could foreseeably cause harm.

2. The Doctor Committed Medical Negligence

Medical negligence constitutes a breach of the duty of care owed to the patient. Common examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Diagnostic errors (e.g., misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and delayed diagnosis)
  • Medication errors (e.g., negligent prescription of a drug, failure to monitor the patient’s reaction, errors in distributing the medication, etc.)
  • Surgical errors
  • Obstetrical and gynecological negligence resulting in birth injuries and/or injury to the mother
  • Emergency room malpractice

It is important to note that a mistake does not necessarily constitute medical malpractice. Adverse outcomes do not always occur as a result of malpractice, either.

Rather, it must be shown that the doctor failed to provide the care that would be expected given the patient’s complaint and the course a competent provider would take in the same situation. This is known as the standard of care.

3. Your Injury Was Caused by Medical Malpractice

Causation is perhaps the most challenging element of any medical malpractice claim. It must be shown that the medical negligence directly led to injury, worsening of an illness, or the death of the patient.

A Middletown medical malpractice lawyer will undertake a thorough review of your medical records to determine what errors occurred in diagnosis and treatment. Your attorney will also consult expert medical witnesses who can testify as to causation.

4. You Suffered Damages as a Result of Medical Malpractice

Finally, the evidence must show that the injury caused by the provider’s malpractice resulted in compensable damages. Potential damages in a medical malpractice claim include:

  • Additional medical expenses
  • Loss of income and earning capacity
  • Travel for medical care
  • Costs of hiring home healthcare workers and household services
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced life expectancy
  • Loss of the enjoyment of life

Compensation can also be recovered for the wrongful death of a loved one as a result of medical malpractice.

What Is a Good Faith Certificate?

In Connecticut, a medical malpractice claim cannot proceed unless a good faith certificate is included with the initial complaint. A good faith certificate states that a “reasonable inquiry” has been made “to determine that there are grounds for a good faith belief that there has been negligence in the care or treatment of the claimant” (see Connecticut General Statutes § 52-190a).

The good faith certificate must include a written opinion by a healthcare provider of similar background and qualifications to the provider named in the medical malpractice claim (see Connecticut General Statutes § 52-184c). For the “reasonable inquiry” requirement to be satisfied, the expert opinion must state “that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence” as well as “a detailed basis for the formation of such opinion.”

Obtaining a good faith certificate does not prove that medical malpractice actually occurred. Rather, it establishes to the court that there is sufficient evidence for your medical malpractice claim to move forward.

Contact a Middletown Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

People often assume that any doctor’s mistake or unfavorable outcome is grounds for a medical malpractice claim. The reality is much more complicated, which is why it is crucial to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer about your rights as soon as possible.

Attorneys at The Flood Law Firm handle a wide range of cases. We are well-versed in the complexities of medical malpractice litigation, and our team is committed to maximizing compensation in your claim and ensuring your well-being.

The Flood Law Firm has offices in Middletown, Danbury, Waterbury, and Bridgeport. Our medical malpractice lawyers serve clients throughout Connecticut.

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