We place an enormous level of trust in our doctors, and they are the ones we turn to when our lives and our livelihoods hang in the balance during a medical emergency. All it takes is one careless error on their part, and our lives can be changed forever.
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To best protect all of us, doctors and other medical professionals need to be held to a high standard of care. When this standard is breached, people are seriously harmed, and the doctor and his or her employer may be held legally accountable.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are intended to get the victims of medical negligence the resources they need to ensure the best possible recovery.
Medical malpractice is defined, in short, as the failure of a medical professional to provide an expected level of care, resulting in harm caused to a patient.
It can take many forms, including:
According to the CT Medical Malpractice Report released in 2021 by the Connecticut Insurance Department, a total of 2,679 medical malpractice claims were “closed” (i.e., settled, resolved at trial, dropped by the plaintiff, or dismissed) in the state between the years 2016 and 2020. That’s an average of between 1 and 2 alleged instances of medical malpractice every day.
The report found that, over the course of five years, 426 medical malpractice claims involved the death of the patient. A further 186 claims involved permanent injuries such as brain damage and paralysis.
What Is Classified as Medical Negligence?
Medical malpractice can take a host of different forms, from misdiagnosis and surgical errors to birth injuries and medication errors. Ultimately, however, for a medical error to constitute malpractice, it must be shown that the provider violated the duty of care owed to you as a patient.
Simply put, this means that a medical provider (doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant, etc.) did something wrong. Doctors and other healthcare providers are required to abide by the professional standard of care found in the Connecticut General Statutes § 52-184c, which is defined as the “level of care, skill and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”
As you can see, injuries that you suffer following a medical procedure or medical treatment does not automatically constitute medical negligence. Rather, you must prove through experts (other “reasonably prudent” medical professionals) that a mistake was made by your provider either by acting, or not acting, in the way that they should have.
Medical negligence is not always obvious, but the effects can be devastating. A Connecticut medical malpractice attorney at The Flood Law Firm can evaluate your case and advise you of the options you might have for making a claim.
What Are the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case?
The majority of patients are unaware of their legal rights in the event of medical malpractice. In addition, they generally don’t know what is involved in bringing a malpractice claim.
It is in your best interest to consult a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will need to prove the following:
Doctors and surgeons are not the only providers that can be held liable for medical malpractice. You may be able to bring claims against other medical professionals (such as advanced practice registered nurses, dentists, chiropractors, and podiatrists) as well as healthcare facilities (such as hospitals) for the harm they cause you and your loved ones.
A Connecticut medical malpractice attorney will review the evidence in your case to identify all liable parties. At The Flood Law Firm, we go the extra mile to ensure all of the defendants are held accountable and your recovery is maximized.
How Long Do You Have to Sue in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is the same as it is for other types of personal injury claims: 2 years. Generally, the claim must be brought within 2 years of the date the injury occurs.
Courts in Connecticut may allow additional time (up to 3 years) if a medical injury is not “discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered” within the statute of limitations (see Connecticut General Statutes § 52-584). This is known as the “discovery rule.”
The discovery rule can play an important role in medical malpractice claims. Adverse effects of a medical error can take time to arise. If this happens to you or a member of your family, the Connecticut discovery rule can provide you with extra time to take legal action.
Finally, Connecticut General Statutes § 52-555 sets the time limit for claims involving wrongful death in Connecticut. A wrongful death claim must be brought within 2 years after the passing of a loved one as a result of another party’s negligence, including cases where a patient dies as a result of medical malpractice.
How Do I Sue a Doctor in CT?
Medical malpractice claims against doctors and other medical professionals in Connecticut are subject to special legal procedures. Before filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s attorney is required to make a “reasonable inquiry” to determine if there are sufficient grounds to pursue a claim.
A legal action for medical malpractice must be based on a “good faith belief” that the plaintiff suffered injury due to medical malpractice (see Connecticut General Statutes § 52-190a). A “good faith certificate” must be provided as part of the initial complaint.
Central to the “good faith certificate” is a written opinion from a medical provider stating that there is sufficient evidence of medical negligence to make a malpractice claim. The provider must have training and experience similar to that of the defendant.
A similar healthcare provider’s expert opinion does not positively prove that medical malpractice occurred. Rather, it supports the allegation of malpractice against the defendant and makes it possible for the claim to proceed.
Other steps involved in suing a doctor for medical malpractice in Connecticut include:
If you or a family member suffered injury while receiving medical care and you believe negligence on the part of the doctor is to blame, it is important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. A Connecticut medical malpractice attorney at The Flood Law Firm can review your case for free, gather evidence on your behalf, and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.
What Percentage of Malpractice Suits Are Successful?
The CT Medical Malpractice Report found that approximately 53% of the Connecticut medical malpractice claims from 2016 to 2020 were resolved in favor of the plaintiff. The average payout in these cases was $844,186.
Over 99% of the cases involving a payout to the plaintiff were resolved via settlement. Settlements were reached before trial in 78% of cases.
It is important to note that winning a medical malpractice case at trial is extremely difficult. The journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research found that doctors prevail in 80-90% of medical malpractice cases that go before a jury.
Juries are often willing to give doctors and other medical professionals the “benefit of the doubt” when it comes to patient care. In addition, plaintiffs often lack the strong, compelling evidence needed to win at trial.
For your medical malpractice lawsuit to succeed, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer on your side. Attorneys at The Flood Law Firm have extensive experience with complex cases and, perhaps more importantly, significant trial experience.
Medical malpractice cases are not easy. Not every mistake by a doctor constitutes medical negligence. Building these cases requires a deep understanding of Connecticut medical malpractice laws.
Hospitals and other medical providers have skilled attorneys whose job is to argue that you shouldn’t be compensated. You need someone on your side – an attorney who can go toe-to-toe with these huge medical companies on your behalf.
A Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you secure compensation for:
If the negligence of a medical professional has serious harmed you or a loved one, you should speak with an attorney about your options. At the Flood Law Firm, we understand Connecticut’s medical malpractice laws. We handle these kinds of cases with compassion, determination and professionalism.
Contact us today for a free consultation if you think you have a medical malpractice claim. There is no obligation.