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Is It Medical Malpractice? Everything You Need to Know

January 24, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Stethoscope on a stack of booksMedical malpractice is a serious matter, and if you or a loved one has suffered due to healthcare provider negligence, it’s crucial to understand your rights. In Missouri, the law allows for medical malpractice suits when injuries result from malpractice, negligence, errors, or mistakes related to healthcare. Proving a medical malpractice claim requires demonstrating the provider’s lack of knowledge or skill or failure to exercise the expected level of care. The injuries incurred must be a direct result of this negligence.

Facing a medical malpractice claim can be terrifying, but you don’t need to do it alone. At Goza & Honnold, with decades of experience, we can thoroughly investigate your case, helping you focus on recovery. Take the first step by scheduling a free consultation with our seasoned attorneys, recognized by prestigious legal organizations. Obtaining fair compensation begins with understanding your rights and having a dedicated legal team by your side.

Responsibility in Missouri Medical Malpractice Cases

When pursuing a medical malpractice claim, the burden of proof lies with the victim. The responsibility extends to various healthcare providers, and it’s essential to establish the defendant’s lack of knowledge, skill, or proper care. This process involves demonstrating the standard practices in the specific field or specialty and how the defendant deviated from those norms. If successful, victims can seek compensation for injuries resulting from the provider’s negligence.

Partial Fault and Recovery in Missouri

Missouri follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, allowing parties to recover damages even if they bear a significant portion of the blame. Unlike modified systems in other states, where recovery is barred if the plaintiff’s contribution exceeds a certain percentage, pure comparative fault enables victims to seek compensation proportionate to their own fault. For instance, if a patient is partially responsible for the injury at issue, she or he can still recover damages reduced by the patient’s percentage of fault. This system aims to provide fairness and acknowledges that multiple factors may contribute to an incident.

Parties Immune From Medical Negligence Cases

While parties can typically file medical malpractice claims against healthcare providers, the state of Missouri is protected by sovereign immunity. This means the state itself cannot be sued for medical malpractice. However, this immunity doesn’t extend to healthcare professionals employed by state-owned facilities. In cases where malpractice occurs within a state-owned hospital, victims can pursue legal action against the responsible physicians or nurses but not against the hospital facility itself.

Violation of Standard of Care

The foundation of a medical malpractice case rests on establishing a violation of the standard of care. Patients have the right to expect a level of care recognized by professionals in the same field. An honest mistake or dissatisfaction with treatment does not necessarily equate to malpractice. Testimony from a medical expert becomes vital to define the standard of care in the specific case and demonstrate how it was breached.

Proving Medical Malpractice

To successfully pursue a medical malpractice case, four essential elements must be proven:

  • Duty of Care: A doctor/patient relationship existed, which is evident in records showing professional interactions for medical treatment.
  • Breach of Care: The defendant breached their duty by violating the expected medical standard of care, requiring a departure from reasonable practices in the field.
  • Causation: The healthcare provider’s negligence directly led to the patient’s injury or illness, and the harm would not have occurred otherwise.
  • Damages: The resulting injury or illness caused tangible damages, such as medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Understanding these elements is crucial when evaluating potential medical malpractice cases.

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Understanding the nuances of medical malpractice in Missouri is crucial for those who believe they have suffered harm due to healthcare provider negligence. Establishing a violation of the standard of care and proving the elements required for a successful case demands expertise and experience. In Missouri, patients have the right to expect a high level of care, and when this standard is breached, they have the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

Goza & Honnold, with decades of experience and recognition by prestigious legal organizations like the American College of Trial Lawyers, American Board of Trial Advocates, and Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyers, can thoroughly investigate your case. Our dedicated team will help you navigate the complexities of medical malpractice claims, allowing you to focus on recovery. We offer free consultations to discuss your situation and provide expert advice. Take the first step towards justice by contacting Goza & Honnold today by calling (913) 451-3433 or completing our contact form.