When you go to the doctor, you trust that you will be diagnosed and treated with the appropriate degree of care. Unfortunately, doctors and nurses do make mistakes, and these mistakes may have serious consequences for your health, necessitating further treatment and expensive medical bills. If you believe that you have been a victim of health care negligence, you should consult Decatur medical malpractice lawyer Greg Reeves at the Reeves Law Firm. Alabama is considered a challenging state in which to win a personal injury or wrongful death case based on malpractice, making it important to retain an experienced attorney.Medical Malpractice Claims in Alabama
In Alabama, any kind of health care provider can be held liable for medical negligence. Health care providers include doctors, surgeons, nurses, psychologists, therapists, hospitals, and private practices. However, not every bad outcome means that a health care provider has committed medical malpractice.
To sue for medical malpractice, you will need to show that your health care provider deviated from the professional standard of care that applies to a situation like yours, and the deviation caused your injuries. The professional standard of care is made up of the accepted standards and practices of similar health care providers. Under Alabama Code section 6-5-551, a plaintiff suing for medical malpractice must include in the complaint a detailed specification and factual description of the acts and omissions that they allege make the health care provider liable. It is necessary, therefore, for a medical malpractice attorney in the Decatur area to consult an expert (and sometimes multiple experts) in detail prior to suing.
Expert medical witnesses must be able to testify about the level of medical care that the defendant should have given you, and they must be able to say that it is probable that the defendant’s acts or omissions caused your harm. There are very limited circumstances in which you would not need the testimony of an expert to show a breach of the professional standard of care. For example, an expert witness is unnecessary if a surgeon left a sponge or surgical tool inside a body cavity. An expert also would not be necessary if the health care provider injured a part of the body not being treated. For example, if a doctor amputates the wrong limb, a jury will not need the testimony of an expert to understand that the doctor deviated from the standard of care.
Alabama limits expert testimony more than many other states. Your Decatur medical malpractice attorney needs to get exactly the same type of doctor as the defendant to testify as an expert. The Alabama Supreme Court has even invalidated a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist's testimony when he testified as an expert about serious mistakes made by a family practitioner while performing a C-section.
Sometimes health care providers argue that you were partially or fully to blame for your own injuries arising out of their mistakes. For example, they may argue that you did not follow their instructions and recommendations, and if you had, you would not have been harmed.
Although it is not easy to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are no caps on damages. In the 1990s, a medical malpractice damages cap was struck down. Damages that you can recover include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Decatur or Beyond
If you suffer injuries or other harm as a result of medical malpractice, you should contact the Reeves Law Firm. Greg Reeves has 25 years of legal experience and has been a staff member at Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyer's College since 2011. We represent people in Decatur, Huntsville, Athens, Hartselle, Madison, and Birmingham, as well as other areas of Madison, Morgan, Limestone, Lawrence, Jackson, Lauderdale, and Cullman Counties. Call us at 256.355.3311 or use our online form. Our firm also can assist people who need a car accident lawyer or assistance with another type of personal injury claim.