Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Distinguished Medical Negligence Lawyers Serving Durant, Ardmore, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and all of Oklahoma.
Identifying errors or negligence in healthcare isn’t always a straightforward task. Medical professionals, including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and specialists, often feel a moral duty to back their colleagues, making it difficult for an outsider to uncover the truth when healthcare goes awry. Unfortunately, errors or negligence in the medical field can result in devastating injuries that could have been prevented. You should not bear the financial burden of a medical professional’s mistake. The legal team at Tate Accident Law is committed to helping you seek compensation if you’ve suffered a significant injury due to a medical error or misstep that could have been prevented.
Examples of the medical malpractice cases our attorneys typically handle include:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Failure to diagnose cancer resulting in death
- Injuries to children such as birth injuries
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe injury under medical care, contact Tate Accident Law at 903-892-4440 for a consultation with an experienced Oklahoma medical negligence lawyer. We offer a complimentary initial case evaluation and serve clients across Oklahoma, including Edmond, Durant, Ardmore, Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and beyond.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice can be understood as a legal claim pertaining to negligence. Medical malpractice is a subset of the broader tort law. It operates on the principle that healthcare professionals are expected to provide patients with a standard of care that is deemed reasonable. If errors lead to injuries, the responsible party should bear the legal consequences for the personal harm caused by actions that strayed from this norm. For a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, a lawyer must validate that the patient’s injuries were a direct result of substandard medical treatment.
Characteristics of a Good Medical Malpractice Lawyer
A jury consists of ordinary individuals. If your case goes to trial, you need an attorney who understands the complexities of medical malpractice cases and can convey the details in a manner that the average individual can comprehend. You will also benefit from a lawyer who can deliver the details to a jury in a compelling manner to maximize your award.
Our legal experts conduct extensive investigations into all individuals involved in your care, including the treatment facility. We scrutinize your medical records and work with expert witnesses who examine the evidence and offer professional opinions on whether malpractice occurred.
Severe negligence in healthcare can result in disastrous consequences. Tate Accident Law has the capacity to contest formidable defendants such as hospitals, malpractice insurers, and other parties accountable for your medical injury. Get in touch with our Oklahoma medical negligence lawyers now to benefit from our expertise and experience.
Unpacking Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is not merely an unfavorable outcome. Even the most skilled doctors, surgeons, and medical staff can’t guarantee 100% success, despite their best efforts and strategies.
To prove malpractice in your case, your lawyer must show you were entitled to a standard of care. This standard is breached when medical practitioners fail to adhere to the accepted practices within their profession.
At Tate Accident Law, we’ve dealt with a wide range of medical negligence cases, successfully pursuing compensation for injury and wrongful death claims against doctors, surgeons, and hospitals.
Understanding the Process of a Medical Malpractice Case
Determining the Presence of Medical Malpractice
It’s common for patients and their families to be unsure if a healthcare provider has erred in their treatment. If you suspect that the medical care you received was less than satisfactory, our team of legal professionals is ready to offer a free consultation for your medical malpractice claim. Our lawyers will analyze various factors to determine if proceeding with a lawsuit is the appropriate path to take. Here are some key elements to keep in mind:
The onus of identifying whether injuries were a result of substandard care, and thus, medical malpractice, falls on the patient. Physicians and other healthcare providers are not legally required to inform patients if they have suffered harm due to treatment that did not meet standard practices. To discern if your circumstances justify a medical malpractice case, consulting with an attorney specializing in medical negligence can be beneficial in guiding your decision.
Proving a Patient-Doctor Relationship Existed
Though it might appear obvious, this is a vital part in constructing a medical malpractice case. The injured person must show that they were under the care of the defendant at the time the injury occurred. This is usually evidenced through medical records, but connecting the medical practitioner’s negligence to the patient’s injury is essential for advancing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Meeting the Deadline for Filing a Claim
A medical malpractice claim must be filed within a definite timeframe after the incident that resulted in the harm, referred to as the statute of limitations. In Oklahoma, this statute of limitations is two years for medical malpractice claims. This means that injured patients must commence a lawsuit within two years following the medical incident causing the injury. Regrettably, the opportunity to file a medical malpractice claim is lost once this deadline has lapsed.
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A medical malpractice lawsuit can only move forward if the plaintiff can show that the healthcare professional did not meet reasonable professional standards. Furthermore, the plaintiff must prove that this negligence directly resulted in their injuries. This underlines the importance of having a proficient medical malpractice attorney with a track record of successful settlements and verdicts, such as the team at Tate Accident Law.
Once our lawyers have fulfilled all the necessary requirements for a client’s case, the final step in a medical malpractice claim at our firm is to calculate the monetary compensation due to the plaintiff.
Our team will consider various factors when assessing damages. This ensures our clients receive fair compensation to cover current or future costs, loss of income, or any other related expenses due to their injury.
What Damages Can a Medical Malpractice Victim Be Compensated for in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, the law stipulates different categories of damages that a plaintiff could potentially receive compensation for, if they win a medical malpractice lawsuit. These include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages provide compensation for quantifiable financial losses, typically resulting from the healthcare provider’s negligence. This includes expenses such as medical bills, lost wages due to the inability to work, property damage or loss, and any future monetary opportunities that the injury may have obstructed.
Non-economic damages pertain to non-financial, intangible losses that are often subjective and challenging to quantify monetarily. Examples include emotional distress, mental disorders caused by the accident, trauma, embarrassment, pain, discomfort, suffering, scars, loss of limbs, disfigurement, disablement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, loss of companionship and inconvenience.
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded when it’s demonstrated in court that the healthcare provider acted maliciously, fraudulently, or with reckless disregard. These damages are not intended for compensation; rather, they serve as a deterrent and punishment .
A qualified medical malpractice attorney can help you determine which damages may be available to you. It is important that you seek legal assistance in a medical malpractice case due to the need to identify these aspects of your case because they directly impact the outcome and the compensation you receive.
It is important to know that Oklahoma law sets a cap on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in a medical malpractice case. This cap is set at $350,000, unless the plaintiff can provide “clear and convincing” evidence that the defendant acted with gross negligence, ill-will, or deliberately set out to cause harm. If such elements are proven, the $350,000 limit does not apply.
What Is an Expert Witness in Medical Malpractice Claims?
In all medical malpractice cases in Oklahoma, evidence from an expert witness is an essential part of a credible, effective case and is a required component in any lawsuit. An expert witness in Oklahoma is defined as a person who is licensed to practice medical care or possesses significant experience or substantive training in a relevant field of healthcare. This professional must be actively practicing or retired from a healthcare practice.
The expert witness’s testimony is crucial for a successful trial in Oklahoma. The expert witness must convincingly demonstrate that:
1. There was a deviation from the standard of care by the healthcare provider, through an action or omission, that led to the plaintiff’s injury, and
2. This deviation from the standard of care directly caused the injury.
Before a trial begins, Oklahoma law requires victims of medical malpractice to take certain steps. They must submit an “affidavit” with their claim, verifying that they have consulted with a qualified expert and obtained a written, signed opinion from this expert. This opinion should include relevant records, facts, and other materials that establish the defendant’s negligent acts or omissions. If the plaintiff fails to submit the necessary affidavit, the court may either dismiss the case or provide an extension, typically 90 days, to acquire one.
An Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney should be able to provide you with access to qualified expert witnesses and may already have relationships with experts who have proven successful in winning previous lawsuits. It is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as you can to begin analyzing your case. Tate Law Offices is here to help you if you’ve been injured. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation regarding your injuries or those of a loved one.
Who Is Responsible in an Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Claim?
In medical malpractice cases in Oklahoma, identifying the responsible party can be complex. Often, the common perception is of an aggrieved patient against an individual, typically a doctor whose negligence precipitated the injury. While this is frequently the case, it’s important to note that there can be a myriad of individuals, organizations and other entities that may be held liable.
In the context of Oklahoma, a healthcare provider is anyone licensed to provide medical services or treatments to patients. This includes physician assistants, nurses, dentists, oral surgeons, pediatric doctors, physical therapists, anesthesiologists, psychologists, eye and ear doctors, licensed medical specialists, chiropractors, and licensed hospitals, cancer treatment clinics, pharmacists, urgent care clinics, emergency rooms, surgical facilities, physicians’ professional corporations, or groups and organizations that employ such individuals.
What if a Patient Is Partially at Fault?
Can the patient still recover for damages in an Oklahoma medical malpractice lawsuit? Oklahoma law employs what is called modified comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, states like Oklahoma limit a plaintiff’s compensation eligibility to either 50% or 51%. Oklahoma follows a 51% rule, stipulating that you can only recover damages if a court determines that the patient’s part in an injury is 50% or less.
To illustrate, let’s consider a scenario where a patient fails to provide important details to a doctor regarding treatment, such as a previous injury that could impact their recovery and the prescribed treatment. Despite being aware of the previous injuries, the patient decides to take a risk and doesn’t disclose this information to the doctor after being asked. If the jury learns about this and decides that the doctor was wrong in suggesting the treatment type, they may attribute 50% of the blame to the doctor and 50% to the patient for withholding information about the previous injury. Since the doctor and the patient share equal responsibility for the injury, the patient would still be eligible to recover a portion of the damages under the modified comparative fault doctrine. If the court awarded $120,000 in damages, the patient would receive $60,000 after the doctrine is applied. If the jury deems the patient 51% responsible, the patient will be awarded nothing.
Victims or their loved ones who have been subject to severe injuries under medical care in Oklahoma, are encouraged to call or text Tate Accident Law at 903-892-4440 for a free consultation with an experienced Oklahoma medical negligence lawyer. Don’t wait to contact us. Starting your case as soon as possible will help to improve your chances of obtaining maximum compensation.