Orange County Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical malpractice feels like an unthinkable betrayal. A doctor—someone who swore an oath to “do no harm”—made a mistake that injured you. Medical malpractice can happen on the operating table, in an exam room, or even at the pharmacy when you pick up medicine your doctor never should have prescribed. Whatever the circumstances, now you face pain, stress, and expense you didn’t plan for and don’t deserve.
When doctors and their staffs make harmful mistakes, it can be critical for victims to connect with a lawyer who understands the complexities of building a case for compensation from medical practices and their insurers. At Aitken* Aitken * Cohn, we fight for the rights of Californians injured by medical providers. If you have been injured because of a doctor’s mistake, contact our compassionate, experienced team today at (714) 434-1424 to schedule a free consultation.
At Aitken* Aitken * Cohn, we have a track record of success in recovering significant settlements and judgments for our clients in medical malpractice cases. Here are a few examples:
- A jury awarded our client, a promising young student, nearly $15,000,000 after an anesthesiologist failed to monitor his oxygen and ventilation levels during a routine outpatient surgery to fix his broken ankle. Our client went into cardiac arrest during the procedure and suffered a permanent brain injury that left him blind and with memory and sensory deficits. Lawyers for the defendant anesthesiologist tried to argue numerous alternative explanations for our client’s injury, but the team at Aitken* Aitken * Cohn prevailed in demonstrating the defendant’s fault.
- We recovered a $650,000 wrongful death settlement on behalf of the family of a high school principal whose surgeon nicked his bowel during surgery, which led to an infection that wasn’t discovered until it was too late to save the patient’s life.
- We achieved a $750,000 settlement on behalf of a client whose doctor failed for two years to diagnose breast cancer, despite warning signs. The doctor’s failure to deliver the standard of care to our client allowed the cancer to progress from Stage I to Stage III and significantly complicated her recovery process.
- We recovered a $450,000 wrongful death settlement on behalf of the family of a woman—a mother of six—who died after giving birth when doctors failed to spot her need for a blood transfusion in time, despite excessive bleeding.
This is just a sampling of the kinds of medical malpractice the team at Aitken* Aitken * Cohn has handled on behalf of clients and their families. We’ve also recovered compensation for clients who suffered significant and long-lasting hand and arm injuries as a result of the negligent injection of drugs. And, we have represented new parents whose newborns sustained injuries caused by obstetrical negligence.
At Aitken* Aitken * Cohn, we understand money does not solve all problems for those injured by medical malpractice, and it cannot bring back a loved one who has died because of a physician’s mistake. But the funds we have been able to recover on behalf of our clients can help alleviate some of the stress and burden a medical malpractice injury can cause, and it can help ensure doctors do not make similar mistakes and harm more patients in the future.
The skilled, compassionate team at Aitken* Aitken * Cohn do our utmost to represent our clients’ best interests and achieve the best outcome possible in each unique case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider—a doctor, physician’s assistant, nurse, surgical tech, or therapist—harms a patient by delivering negligent or deliberately harmful medical treatment. Medical malpractice does not usually include predictable complications from medical treatments, especially when medical providers have discussed those potential complications with patients and their families. Instead, medical malpractice focuses mostly on preventable accidents that adversely affect a patient’s quality of life.
Lawyers with experience in medical malpractice matters focus on several core components of proving whether a medical provider made a preventable mistake that led to harm:
The existence of a doctor-patient relationship. A patient does not need to have had a personal relationship with his doctor to have a claim for medical malpractice. Sometimes, especially in surgeries, patients never even meet some of the people who provide them with medical care. But, there does have to be a relationship in the sense of a medical provider knowingly providing care. For example, walking up to a mutual friend who happens to be a doctor at a party and asking about your back pain may not create the kind of doctor-patient relationship necessary for a medical malpractice claim.
Failure to meet the “standard of care”. Doctors and other medical providers have an obligation to provide patients with what is known as the “standard of care.” It refers to the level of medical service the patient can reasonably expect from a particular provider in a specific setting. What may be adequate care in one setting—say, in an emergency tent hospital set up after a natural disaster—may not be adequate in another setting, like a specialized surgical hospital. Furthermore, what may be adequate care from a family doctor may not be the same as what a patient can expect from a doctor who focuses on only one kind of treatment or illness. In each case, lawyers, insurance companies, and experts must determine whether the care the injured patient received met the “standard of care” for the specific situation.
The existence of an injury. It’s usually not enough for patients to demonstrate that their medical providers have made a mistake. To recover damages for medical malpractice, patients must show they suffered an injury. Injuries don’t necessarily have to be physical. The stress and trauma of the uncertainty about future health problems due to a doctor’s error can be enough to show a significant injury.
Causation. In cases of medical malpractice, it can be difficult to prove what actually caused an injury or death. If a surgeon leaves a surgical tool inside a patient following a surgery, or amputates the wrong limb, it’s straightforward to show how an injury occurred. On the other hand, if a patient already has a significant illness, like a bleeding disorder, and it is not obvious the doctor’s error caused injury or death, it can be more difficult to prove whether or not the doctor’s error or lack of care caused the injuries or death in question.
Because of the potential complexity of medical malpractice cases, it can be important for injured patients to seek the advice of an attorney with deep and wide experience in representing clients in medical malpractice matters.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Matters
Medical malpractice injuries can arise from a wide variety of medical issues and settings. Here are some of the more common instances we have observed in our years of representing victims of medical malpractice:
- Failure to warn patients of the risk associated with a procedure. Before performing any procedure, doctors must give patients adequate information regarding the risks associated with that treatment for the patient to make an informed decision about receiving that care. The information providers must give can include medication side effects, the risks of type of surgical procedure, and the likelihood of recovery.
- Improper diagnosis or failure to diagnose a serious injury or illness. Medical providers may fail to provide the standard of care when they ignore or fail to spot symptoms and warnings signs of particular medical conditions. There is no hard-and-fast rule on when an improper or missed diagnosis fails to meet the standard of care. Sometimes symptoms are obvious. But, often, medical malpractice cases arise in situations where a doctor or other provide made the wrong judgment about a constellation of symptoms or conditions. In those cases, experienced legal advice can help identify if and how a provider failed to provide the standard of care.
- Medication errors. When doctors prescribe inappropriate medication to patient, or other providers administer the wrong dosage, the result can be disastrous. Medical providers have an obligation to investigate, warn about, and if possible avoid adverse drug reactions and side effect, and to deliver the proper dose.
In these and other cases, working with a skilled, experienced medical malpractice lawyer can be the most effective way to spot medical malpractice and seek appropriate compensation.
Who Bears the Fault for Medical Malpractice?
Most commonly, the doctor or nurse who provided negligent medical treatment is the one who is at fault for the patient’s injuries. Other doctors or nurses who were working on the patient’s case may also be held liable if they failed to notice potential problems or complications or failed to speak up at the time of the incident, resulting in improper care of a patient. Most often, it is the treating doctor who is held liable; however, nurses who have committed serious errors can also be held liable for those medical malpractice errors.
The hospital or medical facility where the medical malpractice occurred may also be directly or indirectly responsible in cases of medical malpractice. This is particularly true if the facility:
- Failed to check the credentials of a doctor or nurse employed by the facility, leading to hiring someone who was ill prepared to properly treat patients
- Neglected to fire an individual who routinely did things to cause harm to patients
- Failed to put proper procedures in place, or to enforce proper procedures, in order to keep patients safe
In some cases, defective medical devices can harm a patient. When this happens, the manufacturer of the defective equipment can be held responsible for injuries that occur as a result.
What Damages Can Victims of Orange County Medical Malpractice Recover?
Medical malpractice can cause serious, long-lasting harm. Because of these devastating consequences, medical malpractice cases can often yield substantial damage awards that compensate victims for their injuries. Those damages often include compensation for:
Medical expenses. Victims of medical malpractice may need emergency and long-term medical treatment, physical therapy, and medications. The cost of these services, which the patient wouldn’t have needed were it not for the malpractice, often become part of the amount awarded in a medical malpractice claim.
Pain and suffering. The pain and suffering sustained by a victim of medical malpratice can be difficult to quantify. But, there’s no doubt it’s an important part of compensating the victim, who faces physical and emotional difficulty because of a medical provider’s errors.
Lost wages or earning potential. Patients injured by medical errors may end up spending a substantial amount of time out of work or may have their earning potential permanently reduced due to disability. Compensation for these amounts is often included in medical malpractice claims.
Loss of companionship and support. When medical malpractice causes a patient to die or sustain injuries that impair their life functions, the family of the victim may have a right to claim damages for the loss of the victim’s companionship and support, including emotional and financial contributions the victim previously made.
How Do Those Responsible Try to Escape Liability?
Most doctors carry medical malpractice insurance that is designed to help protect them in the event of errors in care. These insurance companies will often attempt to minimize the amount they should pay to victims of medical malpractice. Their tactics may include:
Attempts to prove that the doctor did not cause the injuries in question. Insurers may, for example, try to provide that, in the case of a missed diagnosis, there was no reasonable evidence to support a specific diagnosis, or that there wasn’t enough information on hand for the doctor to order specific tests, or that the patient had an undisclosed preexisting condition that the patient failed to tell the doctor about.
Offering quick and lowball settlements. When it’s clear a medical provider made a mistake and has significant liability, insurance companies may attempt to reach a quick settlement with victims and their families before they’ve had the chance to explore their legal rights. This settlement offer is routinely lower than it should be, and it usually comes with a demand that the victim/family “release” the insurer from further liability.
Working with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is the most effective way for patients and their families to ensure they do not fall victim to these tactics.
How Much Will an Orange County Medical Malpractice Lawyer Cost Me?
Victims of medical malpractice have enough pain, difficulty, and expense to deal with without having to worry about the expenses of hiring a lawyer. At Aiken * Aiken * Cohn, we offer free initial consultations to discuss whether medical malpractice victims may be entitled to compensation. If we determine that you have a case, our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, which means, our attorneys are paid only if the lawsuit is successful or is favorably settled out of court. Contingent fees are usually calculated as a percentage of the client’s net recovery.
Get the Help You Need for Your Orange County Medical Malpractice Case
If you’ve sustained a medical malpractice injury in Orange County, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact the experienced medical malpractice team at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn today online or by phone at (714) 434-1424 to schedule a free consultation and explore whether we can help.