We rely on healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and others to help heal us. Most of the time, we leave their care and treatment better off than when we walked in. However, it is an unfortunate truth that sometimes we do not. While it is true that a medical professional cannot guarantee a particular outcome will heal a patient, it is also true that some poor outcomes are due to the reckless, careless, or negligent conduct of a healthcare provider. These medical errors and treatment mistakes could give rise to a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit in Oregon.
Medical malpractice cases are some of the most hotly contested types of cases. This is because a healthcare provider rarely admits their mistakes or medical errors. Insurance adjusters handling medical malpractice claims in Oregon are also specifically trained how to handle these types of claims to undervalue or deny even valid complaints. Usually this is at the request of a defense lawyer who is often hidden in the background and helping the adjuster.
This is why medical malpractice lawyers in Oregon are necessary to help fight back to protect the rights of victims and their families. This type of law is very complicated, and having a lawyer or law firm dedicated to medical malpractice is an important step to maximizing the compensation that a victim may be entitled to under Oregon law.
This compensation is typically known as “damages.” Under Oregon law, damages are the measure of relief that a party may recover in a legal action such as a medical malpractice claim. In personal injury cases such as medical malpractice, the damages are typically monetary compensation. This monetary compensation can be used to reimburse a victim for medical bills, lost wages, and future lost earnings if the patient is unable to work at the same job due to personal injuries sustained by a doctor’s negligence. The monetary compensation could also be for pain and suffering, which is the agony sustained by a victim due to the accident.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle:
Under Oregon law, a medical malpractice claim can be brought against any healthcare provider who failed to satisfy the prevailing “standard of care.” The standard of care is what a reasonably prudent healthcare provider in a similar specialty or position (i.e., a doctor for a doctor-defendant, a nurse for a nurse-defendant) would have done in similar circumstances. The level of care, skill, and treatment that was used by the defendant is compared to what would have been deemed reasonable and acceptable by a reasonably prudent heath care provider. The standard of care is what is often the most heavily litigated in cases for medical malpractice in Oregon.
Most people have heard about the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the burden of proof, also known as the burden of persuasion, that a plaintiff has in order to establish a claim. The beyond a reasonable doubt burden of proof is the heaviest or most difficult burden to prove. This is near 100% certainty that the claim is true and believed that it happened. Some legal experts believe that number to be between 98% to 99%, but all agree it is a very high standard. This is not the standard for a medical malpractice claim, but is the claim for most types of criminal actions.
A claim for medical malpractice in Oregon just requires that a plaintiff prove his or her case by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard is that the claim is more than likely true, which equates to just 51%. This allows a victim of medical malpractice to be successful by proving a claim at just 51%.
Most claims for medical malpractice in Oregon begin with negotiations pre-suit to reach a resolution. This is in everyone’s best interest because a settlement gives the parties some control over the outcome of the action. However, far too many medical professionals who have made serious or egregious mistakes will deny their liability. Often times their insurance companies will agree to protect dangerous doctors and nurses. While pre-action negotiations can be successful, they do not always result in a settlement.
This means that a victim of medical mistakes may need to commence and action. This is done by filing a claim against the defendants. Filing a claim for medical malpractice in Oregon starts with a summons and complaint. The summons is the notice that you are commencing a claim against the defendant. It also sets forth the answering date for the defendant to respondent to the allegations in the complaint. The complaint is the “charging document” or the pleading which lists the operative facts and allegations against a defendant(s). These documents are filed with the clerk’s office and then served on the defendant(s).
Thereafter, the defendant(s) will be required to respond to your complaint and the allegations therein with a pleading known as an “answer.” The rest of the case revolves around discovery which is the exchange of information in this case. During discovery, both sides exchange documents and their lawyers can take depositions (legal interviews under oath) of parties and witnesses. After discovery, there is usually motion practice and sometimes another possibility to negotiate a settlement for the matter goes to trial.
If you have suffered as a victim of medical malpractice in Oregon, you may have mounting medical bills and increasing lost wages. This is a tough combination of added expenses and lowered income. The last thing that most victims may want to do is pay for a lawyer to commence and action for them.
But medical malpractice lawyers like Kuhlman Law handle cases on a contingency fee agreement. This means that a victim does not pay any upfront costs or attorney’s fees. Once the lawyer recovers compensation in a settlement or court award, the attorney earns only a percentage of what the recovery or award was. This allows a victim to keep money in his or her pocket, and to retain a lawyer with no upfront financial risk.
The length of any type of lawsuit can depend on a variety of factors, including how difficult the case is, the lawyers involved, and even how busy the judge or the court is. Of all the personal injury cases, medical malpractice cases in Oregon typically take the longest given their complexity. This is especially true because of the need for medical experts to evaluate the claims for both sides.. Further, the stakes or often so catastrophic and important when medical malpractice happens that these cases frequently go to trial. As such, any experienced Oregon medical malpractice lawyer will advise you that the fight will likely take longer than a year.
Generally, most medical malpractice cases can take up to two years to get to trial. However, some cases are resolved much earlier and, in some instances, cases can proceed to trial in a year. But these are just estimates and the length of time that it takes to commence an action depends on a case-by-case basis.
Two years from the date of when the medical malpractice was discovered or should have been discovered. However, in no event may the medical malpractice claim in Oregon be filed more than five years from the date of the medical conduct constituting malpractice.
If the medical malpractice caused the death of the patient, the case may become a “wrongful death” lawsuit which can allow the Plaintiff up to three years to bring the lawsuit.
If the medical malpractice occurred to a child or minor, then under certain circumstances the time period can be extended.
This time period is known as the statute of limitations period. This is a time limit on filing an action. Even if a victim has a perfect case for medical malpractice in Oregon, if a victim files a case beyond the statute of limitations period the court may dismiss the claim. This is why it is imperative to always protect your rights and ask for the help of medical malpractice lawyers Oregon.
The Statute of Limitations can be complex to determine and could be longer or shorter depending on the facts of your case. In certain circumstances, if you are suing the state of Oregon, Oregon Health & Science University, a public body, or a state or district affiliated hospital, you have to provide notice within either 180 days after the alleged malpractice or within one year if the malpractice related in death.
In cases against Federal Government Hospitals such as the VA Hospital or other regional medical providers that provide federal assistance, you have to provide timely notice in accordance with the Federal Tort Claims Act.
As such, in every case, it is imperative that you have an experienced Oregon medical malpractice lawyer determine the statute of limitations for your claim. The timelines above are just general guidance and you should consult with a local medical malpractice attorney with the specific facts of your case to be certain of the statute of limitations.
You may have to testify in court regarding your medical malpractice claim in Oregon. Usually this is done in a deposition or examination before trial. This is a question-and-answer session with the opposing lawyer(s). The questioning is on the record which means that it is an official transcript. It may be held in a courtroom, but often times it is done in the lawyer’s office or another neutral location.
While some cases resolve before trial, there is the possibility that you may need to again testify at trial. This means that you will be called as a witness and asked question in front of the bench or jury who is charged with hearing your case and rendering a decision or verdict.
Many cases for medical malpractice in Oregon do reach settlement. This allows the parties to maintain some control over the outcome of their case.
However, usually this involves some concessions. A strong medical malpractice attorney Oregon can help maximize the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney with a proven jury trial track record often achieves settlements and results that are six or seven figures larger than a general practitioner or an attorney who primarily handles motor vehicle cases and occasionally handles medical malpractice cases.
As such, the lawyer you chose to take on your case is one of the most important factors in obtaining maximum settlement or a successful jury verdict.
Yes, often times the largest claim in a case for medical malpractice in Oregon involves pain and suffering.
This is a non-economic type of damages, which means that it is no calculable or reimbursable. Rather, non-economic damages like pain and suffering relate to the objective and subjective feelings or emotions that a person has. This includes the agony, angst, and frustration that comes with any injury, as well as an emotional suffering component.
There are generally two types of pain and suffering. The first is past pain and suffering which is usually measured from the date of the injury to settlement or award. The second is future pain and suffering which is measured from the date of the settlement/award to the end of the victim’s expected life.
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If you or a loved one have been seriously injured due to the reckless, careless, or negligent medical care or treatment of a healthcare provider, contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers Oregon for a FREE consultation to learn what your rights to compensation may be under Oregon law. There is no upfront financial risk if we accept your case as we handle cases by contingency fee agreement. Call or visit our website to use our free and easy-to-use contact us case evaluation box available here.