Doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other health care professionals are expected to provide compassionate medical care with knowledge, experience, and skill when we're unwell. Some errors and adverse outcomes from treatment are unavoidable in medicine, but sometimes a medical provider's conduct and treatment decisions fall below the standard of care. When that happens and a patient suffers injury or harm as a result, that patient may be entitled to compensation.
If you have suffered due to medical malpractice in Vermont, Lynch Legal Services, PLLC can help you. With 30 years of experience, Vermont medical malpractice lawyer David Lynch has the experience and resources to assist with even the most complex medical malpractice claims.
We respect that many people want to avoid conflict and would prefer to resolve an issue without a struggle. But sometimes a financial issue cannot be resolved without legal help. We believe that when you've been harmed by someone else, you deserve answers and justice. Let us be your voice. Our down-to-earth, client-focused approach can help give you the confidence you need to pursue your case no matter how complex it may be.
Contact our firm today to set up a free and confidential case evaluation with a knowledgeable, compassionate Vermont medical malpractice attorney. We want to discuss your concerns, needs, and goals, and tell you more about how our firm can help you pursue the justice you deserve.
Whether you suffered complications following treatment, or your treatment failed to improve your condition, or your condition even got worse, the fact that you had an adverse outcome from medical treatment does not necessarily mean that you have been the victim of medical malpractice. Not every error by a medical provider constitutes malpractice. To successfully prove a claim of medical malpractice, you must establish four facts.
First, you must prove that you had a provider-patient relationship with the medical provider you claim rendered negligent care to you. In most medical malpractice cases, this fact is uncontested.
Next, you must establish that the care or treatment rendered by your medical provider fell below the accepted standard of care. In the medical field, the standard of care is often defined as "the actions and decisions that another reasonably prudent medical provider of similar training and experience (as your provider) would have undertaken in circumstances identical to your case."
Even a decision that in hindsight appears to have been an error may not fall below the standard of care if other reasonably prudent professionals would have made the same decision under the circumstances.
Medicine is an evolving science. In most medical malpractice cases, you will need to have a medical expert from the same or similar specialty as your provider testify about the standard of care in your case.
You must further establish how your provider's failure to render treatment within the standard of care directly and proximately caused you to suffer injury or harm. If you suffered no physical damage, or if your condition was not made worse due to errors made by your medical provider, then no malpractice has occurred.
Finally, you must establish that you have suffered some sort of damage for which you can be financially compensated.
The process of filing a medical malpractice claim in Vermont begins with collecting all the medical records related to your care and the treatment you received while recovering from your injuries. These records should reflect the harm inflicted by the negligent care you received.
The claim process often begins with contacting the doctor or doctors and the hospital or other health care facility you believe were responsible for your negligent care. In some cases, medical providers will acknowledge their errors and will work to help you recover from any adverse effects or harm you have suffered. This could allow you to swiftly settle your claim and get the treatment you need to recover.
If it becomes necessary to pursue your medical malpractice claim in court, Vermont law requires that your complaint be accompanied by a "certificate of merit." The certificate of merit provides your certification under oath that you have consulted with a qualified medical expert who has reviewed your case and has set forth:
- The applicable standard of care that your medical provider should have met in your treatment
- An opinion, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that you have a reasonable likelihood of showing that your provider failed to meet the standard of care
- An opinion that you have a reasonable likelihood of showing that your provider's breach of the standard of care directly and proximately caused you to suffer injuries and damages
In most cases, if you fail to file a certificate of merit, your case will be dismissed until you submit such a certificate. However, if you can show that your provider's negligence is within the understanding of the average layperson and that no medical expert testimony is required (for example, if you had surgical equipment or materials left inside you), you may not need a certificate of merit.
- ER Malpractice - Emergency room malpractice can include triage errors (misjudging the severity of your condition), discharge errors (discharging you in an unstable condition), or making errors during your treatment that result in physical injury or a worsening of your condition, for example.
- Hospital Malpractice - Hospital malpractice includes errors in treatment that result in physical injury or a worsening of your condition, but may also include harm such as negligent care and supervision that leads you to suffer a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, or negligence that results in you suffering from a hospital-acquired infection, for example.
- Anesthesia Errors - Errors made by anesthesiologists and anesthesia teams include giving patients too much anesthesia (resulting in adverse complications), too little anesthesia (which can result in patients becoming conscious during surgery), or failing to monitor a patient's condition or communicate a deterioration in a patient's condition to the surgical team.
- Medication Errors - Medication errors include prescribing the wrong medication to a patient (such as one that causes an allergic reaction or an adverse interaction with other medications taken by the patient), calculating the wrong dosage of medication, incorrectly filing a prescription (either providing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medication), or administering medication to the wrong patient in a hospital or care setting.
- Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis - Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of medical conditions such as cancer and coronary conditions can allow those diseases to worsen, which can mean a patient misses out on the opportunity for more effective treatments. The patient may have to undergo more intensive, expensive, and/or painful treatments, and ultimately may have a reduced quality of life or reduced life expectancy.
- Birth Injuries - Birth injuries such as broken bones, brachial plexus injuries, and oxygen-deprivation injuries can be caused when delivery teams fail use proper techniques for safe delivery of a baby, fail to timely react and take proper action in response to signs of complications during delivery, or misuse tools and equipment such as forceps and vacuums during the delivery process.
- Surgical Errors - Surgical errors include wrong-patient error (performing a procedure on the wrong patient), wrong-site errors (performing the correct procedure on the correct patient but on the wrong part of the body), causing unnecessary damage to patient tissue, or leaving equipment or materials inside of a patient.
- Radiological Errors - Radiological errors include making mistakes in conducting radiological scans (reducing the usefulness of the scan) or misinterpreting the results of a scan (which can lead to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of conditions).
Suffering harm due to negligence committed by a health care professional can seem like a painful breach of trust. Let our Vermont medical malpractice lawyer help you recover after such a devastating event by:
- Collecting all your medical records and other evidence relevant to your case
- Collaborating with medical experts who can help us build a strong, persuasive case to show how you were injured by negligent medical care
- Filing your claim against the negligent medical providers and the insurance companies to begin the process of securing compensation for your losses
- Staying in regular contact with you, so that we are always available to answer your question and keep you up-to-date with developments in your case
- Preparing your case to go to court, ensuring that your complaint is filed with the proper certifications, and advocating on your behalf during hearings and at trial to get you the results you deserve
When you are trying to recover from complications caused by negligent medical care, you shouldn't have to also worry about paying for the experienced legal representation you need to pursue your claim. That's why, with Lynch Legal Services, PLLC, you owe no fees unless and until we win compensation for you.
When you've experienced adverse consequences due to negligent medical care, you may incur financial and personal losses as a result. Our firm believes that you shouldn't have to bear the burdens of harm inflicted on you by someone else's negligence. We work to seek fair and full compensation for:
- Costs to treat the complications you've suffered from negligent medical care, whether that be surgeries and procedures needed to repair injuries or other medical harm, or the additional cost of more intensive and expensive procedures necessitated by a prior condition that was made worse by the negligent care you received
- Lost wages and income due to the additional time from your job that you miss because of negligent care
- Lost earning potential, if the injuries and harm you've suffered leave you with disabilities impacting your ability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life, including an inability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed, or due to reduced life expectancy
Unlike some other states, Vermont places no cap on the amount of economic, non-economic, or punitive damages that you can recover on a medical malpractice claim.
Under Vermont's statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims, a lawsuit for malpractice must be filed within three years of the date of the negligent treatment (or last date of an ongoing course of treatment) or within two years of the date that the patient discovered (or reasonably should have discovered) the injury, whichever occurs later.
However, a medical malpractice claim may not be filed later than seven years after the alleged negligent treatment occurred, even if the patient has yet to discover (or have the reasonable opportunity to discover) his or her injury. This seven-year limit does not apply where the claim involves equipment or materials being left inside the patient's body during a surgical or medical procedure.
Finally, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims does not apply where the facts and circumstances that would put the patient notice of his or her claim had been fraudulently concealed from the patient.
If you fail to file suit before the applicable statute of limitations on your claim expires, the court will likely permanently dismiss your case.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to seek compensation and accountability for the harm you have suffered. Schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Williston, Vermont medical malpractice attorney from Lynch Legal Services, PLLC today.
We are ready to discuss your legal rights and options and how we can help you recover from the harm you've suffered due to negligent medical care.