The numbers of people in California who are injured or die from medical errors is significant, and sadly preventable in many cases. According to a 2003 report by the California Healthcare Foundation, 10,000 people a year die and 140,000 are injured due to medical errors during treatment by some healthcare provider. Many errors are due to substandard care practices, but others relate to insurance coverage problems. Medical facilities today may be reluctant to admit people with certain low quality insurance policies, forcing those people to go to other facilities that provide inadequate care.
In 2000, California passed SB 1875, also known as the Medication Safety Bill or the Minimization of Medication-Related Errors Bill. It requires hospitals to develop plans to reduce medication error rates. The hospitals across the state do have a high compliance rate, but people continue to suffer and die from medical errors. For injured persons or the loved ones of people who died from medical mistakes, this is just not sufficient at any level. Many errors are easily avoided, but occur because medical personnel are poorly trained, uneducated, do not speak English or are careless in their duties and observations of patients. For many patients, medical errors are not even reported because they are cared for at home or non-medical facilities.
California Medical Errors
The opportunity for errors and omissions in the course of medical treatment is broad. There are many times during treatment that California Medical Errors may occur, from initial diagnosis or lack of proper diagnosis, to administration of the correct medication to the corresponding patient. In 2015, ten California hospitals received penalties of $700,000 when state health inspectors discovered serious errors that cause patient deaths or additional injuries.
Errors that have been reported in California include the following:
- Patients abandoned on a roadside during transportation
- Deaths due to incorrect insertion of feeding tubes
- Pharmaceutical errors – wrong medications; medications for one patient being administered to a different person
- Overdoses of medications, including narcotics; drugs left available to access and administration by family members
- Articles like sponges wrongly left inside patients during surgery
- Caregivers who are afraid to report violations to authorities, resulting in patient injury or death
- Poor analysis by state authorities due to reporting system deficiencies or inability to track trends
- Surgical errors – wrong body part or patient operated on
- Birth Injuries
Many medical errors alter the lifestyles of the patient forever, and in some cases, mistakes result in death of the patient. Survivors are allowed to seek fair compensation for expenses, damage claims and other claims under the legal system through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
California Medical Errors Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured or died due to medical errors, it is important to seek legal advice immediately from an experienced California Medical Errors Lawyer. An attorney with this particular area of experience understands the details of the laws and standards of care that apply to medical practice. They have expert witnesses to call in as needed to provide supporting evidence for your case, and they are also experienced at managing negotiation meetings for settlement talks.
When courtroom litigation is required, a California Medical Errors Lawyer will present a strong argument to help you achieve the best outcome. You will obtain a higher financial award when you work with an experienced lawyer than you could get on your own. Do not give any statements to insurance company representatives about this type of case; they only work to keep payments at minimum or at zero.
California Medical Errors Laws
There are many details included in California Medical Errors Laws. The main objective is two-fold: keeping the industry honest and providing the best possible care, and also to help individuals and survivors obtain justice when medical errors have occurred. Injuries and deaths from medical errors can result in very high financial costs, including after-care, rehabilitation and funeral/burial costs. When a preventable mistake in medical care leads to injury or a wrongful death, California Medical Errors Laws can help you obtain fair compensation and justice for the medical malpractice.
These laws also work to encourage the medical industry to police itself and develop sound procedures to help prevent medical errors. California hospitals are required to create medication error reduction plans under SB 1876, the Medication Safety Bill. With severe penalties for medical errors, the healthcare industry is working hard to try to avoid such problems from occurring. Despite their best efforts, mistakes continue to injure and kill patients. The problem is even worse at non-hospital care facilities, including nursing homes and home care treatment provider companies. On their side, hospital management does want to improve medical care and avoid medical errors, and they often create even stricter policies to reduce errors than are required by state laws.
California Personal lnjury from Medical Errors
When you pursue justice after injury or death of a loved one due to medical errors, many limitations and restrictions may apply. This is another reason why it is most beneficial to have an experienced California Medical Errors Lawyer handle your case immediately.
- Limitations – The state Statute of Limitations varies to some degree. Most cases need to be filed within one year of the injury, but in some cases a longer period is applicable, two to three years or longer in some situations. For Personal Injury cases, the limitation is two years, but the time period may also begin later, within one year after the plaintiff notices the injury/error. In other cases, the time period may be three years from discovery of the injury/error – whichever is sooner. If you do not file within the proper time limits, you may not be able to seek compensation at all.
- Restrictions – You may be required to give a 90 day notice to a the person or hospital you are going to sue, or 6 months to a year’s notice for a government agency you are going to sue.
Legal Options for Medical Errors
You can seek fair compensation for expenses and damages related to the medical error through the legal system. You can recover a variety of claims, including:
- Hospital & Doctor bills – including costs of other personnel like nurses, anesthesiologists, dentists and therapists, home care or nursing homes
- Rehabilitation Costs – special equipment, therapy, counseling, retraining
- Work & Income Losses – yours and survivors’ losses, due to temporary or permanent disability or death
- Personal Losses – Loss of Companionship, Loss of Guardianship, Loss of Future Income or Inheritance
- Transportation – for treatment needs
- Pain & Suffering – yours or your loved one’s pain and suffering
- Wrongful Death – survivors can claim this area of loss, including funeral and burial costs
Making Your Decision
It is important to seek legal advice and representation from a competent, honest and experienced California Medical Errors Lawyer immediately. Any delays could jeopardize your opportunity to gain fair monetary compensation for all loss claims. Do not hesitate or delay in finding this professional before you make any decisions about your case. Most Personal Injury Attorneys will offer you a free initial consultation, and most cases are on a contingency basis – no fee if you do not win. You may still be required to pay for some minor office expenses, but the end results when you have legal representation are far greater than if you attempt to settle independently.