When you seek medical care from a doctor, a hospital, a nurse, or any healthcare provider, you expect to be taken care of. Ultimately, you might not be expecting a miracle cure, but you expect to be treated with dignity, respect, and quality care. It comes as a shock to many who find out that their doctor failed to give them the appropriate care, or committed serious errors that caused them further harm.
If you or a loved one was harmed by poor medical care, consider taking your case to a medical malpractice attorney. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, may be able to help you get compensation for your injuries, worsened condition, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, or other medical malpractice injuries. Especially if you have lost a loved one to medical malpractice, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.
Proving Medical Malpractice in Arkansas
In order to prove medical malpractice, it is not enough to prove that something went wrong in your procedure or medical care; a bad outcome does not automatically mean there was bad treatment. Instead, to prove that you were harmed by medical malpractice, courts require you to prove that you suffered poor healthcare that fell below the “standard of care,” and that this caused your injury or caused your condition to worsen.
Standard of Care
The “standard of care” for medical treatment is not something that can be listed in a reference book or written into law. Instead, the standard of care is the proper course of treatment that a competent healthcare provider would follow for a similarly situated patient. This is often defined based on the specifics of a case, and relies upon what information and resources your doctor had available at the time of treatment.
To prove the standard of care, each side (the injured plaintiff and the doctor defendant) bring expert witnesses to testify to what a competent doctor should do. The jury listens to these often competing standards, and decides whether the doctor’s treatment fell below the standard or not.
Even if the treatment did fall below the standard, you still need to prove that this caused your injuries. In many cases, the doctor may have been unable to cure your condition regardless of the quality of treatment. In these cases, you may be unable to collect compensation, even if you prove the doctor’s care was inadequate. Because of this, it is important to take your case to a medical malpractice attorney that understands the intricate details of medical malpractice cases.
The final required proof is proof of your injuries – called “damages.” Any extra surgeries or healthcare you needed to correct a doctor’s mistakes, any wages from missed work, and other financial burdens you faced because of the poor health care may be compensated. In addition, you may be entitled to high compensation for your pain and suffering, which has no legal cap in Arkansas to limit recovery.
If you lost a loved one, their death may be something you can sue for, as a surviving heir. Your loved one’s pain and suffering, medical bills, and funeral costs are all recoverable damages. Additionally, the harms you personally suffered as a result may be compensated, such as grief, grief counseling, loss of companionship, and other emotional pain.
Statute of Limitations in Arkansas Medical Malpractice
Most lawsuits have a time limit that prevents people from bringing suits too long after the injury occurs. This is done to prevent court cases where witnesses’ memories have decayed or evidence has been lost to time. Arkansas has very strict rules, so it is important to take your case to an attorney as soon as you can.
For medical malpractice, Arkansas Code § 16-114-203 bars injured patients from bringing lawsuits more than two years after the injury. There are three exceptions to this rule, where a lawsuit may be brought more than two years after the injury occurred:
- If the injury was from a foreign object left inside your body (that you could not have discovered), you have one year from the date you discover the object to file your case;
- If the patient was injured as a child under 11 years old, and could not have discovered the cause of injury, you have two years from the date you discover the injury to file (but must file by the child’s 19th birthday, if that is earlier than the two year period);
- If the patient was injured as a child under nine years old, you have until their 11th birthday to file (regardless of discover).
These are some of the most restrictive time limits of any state. Many states allow patients to file after they discover a hidden injury, even if it is after the two-year time limit. Arkansas does not allow this.
Failing to file your case by the strict two-year deadline may prevent you from being able to recover for your injuries.
Bentonville, Arkansas Medical Negligence Attorneys
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, handles medical malpractice lawsuits in Bentonville, and throughout Arkansas. Whether you have suffered a worsened condition or physical injury from poor medical care – or if you have lost a loved one to negligent medical care – our attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation. Because the deadline is so short, make sure to bring your case to an attorney as soon as you can. Call (479) 316-0438 today for a free consultation on your medical malpractice case.