Sometimes, a patient is hospitalized after a serious accident or major surgery. He or she is carefully monitored, and doctors and nurses take great care to ensure a patient is only released when he or she can safely return home. When patients are released too soon, it is called a premature discharge and in some situations, it may lead to a malpractice claim.
West Virginia Medical Malpractice
In West Virginia, residents are entitled to the best care and facilities possible. When these duties are breached, a plaintiff may file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, not every accident or fatality is eligible. The doctor’s action – or omission of service – is only considered malpractice if it is below an acceptable standard of care set according to state law.
Patients who have suffered negligent harm in the hands of a healthcare professional may pursue a malpractice claim to cover damages. In West Virginia, there is a two-year statute of limitations from either the moment an injury is suffered or, in the case of wrongful death, from the date of a fatal accident.
Injuries Related to Premature Discharge
If you are prematurely discharged and file a medical malpractice claim, a judge will consider if an equally qualified professional in similar circumstances would have discharged you from the hospital. If the cause of your suffering is either readily apparent or another physician would have made a different decision that would have prevented the injury, you may seek compensation through a lawsuit.
A readmission, however, does not automatically constitute a negligent act. The discharge must have specifically exacerbated the problem or led to an injury that could have been corrected. If a complication would have occurred whether or not you were discharged, it does not qualify. Obviously, arguing these claims can be tricky, which is why working with an experienced West Virginia medical malpractice lawyer is important.
Malpractice, Insurance, and Why You Need a Quality Attorney
Determining the best time for a discharge is difficult. Doctors and nurses must consider future problems, the progress you’ve made, and the challenges you may face in recovery. They cannot predict all scenarios, and even if you are injured and have to return because of a doctor’s negligence, you may run into some issues as you seek justice for the error. Here are a few issues an attorney can help you with:
- Expert witnesses and other evidence. Unless the malpractice falls under a “common sense” ruling, the court will call on expert witnesses. An attorney can strengthen your case by asking the right questions and ensuring the testimony is clear and straightforward.
- Working with insurance companies. When you seek compensation for damages, you will work with the hospital’s insurance company. Even if the facility has malpractice insurance, it may not offer enough to cover the full cost of damages. Or you may be offered what seems like a fair settlement, except it does not include the full cost of damage, such as missed work or medical equipment expenses.
- Recovering the award you deserve. Individuals are free to negotiate with insurance companies, but the process is slow. Some may even deliberately delay before offering a low amount you are eager to take just so you can have some help with bills. Do not fall for these tricks; contact a West Virginia personal injury attorney who focuses on medical malpractice claims to keep these parties accountable.
A doctor or nurse should not be the one who makes an injury worse. Though many malpractice claims address issues like surgical errors or incorrect prescriptions, some patients are negligently released and allowed to return home. When these actions lead to greater harm or a severe injury, there should be justice. If you want to know more about your legal options, contact the team at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC today. You may also submit a free case evaluation to get started.