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Better Late Than Never Does Not Apply in Medical Diagnoses

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There are those who believe that doctors are infallible and all-knowing, however, they are still human and can make mistakes. Diagnosing a medical condition takes years of study and training, and even then it’s not always correct. In some cases, a medical condition is not immediately recognized and therefore not treated and these could have serious health consequences. This is referred to as delayed diagnosis, and may warrant the attention of a personal injury lawyer if it can be proved that there was insufficient care provided.

When a patient is asymptomatic (no symptoms presented) or presents vague symptoms that could indicate any number of medical conditions, it is hard to make a timely and accurate diagnosis. However, a physician has the responsibility of providing accepted standards of care which includes a thorough physical examination, interview and diagnostic tests to determine the nature of the condition. If these standards are met, then no negligence can be conferred to the doctor. Otherwise, a personal injury case may be filed against the doctor and other medical personnel involved.

Effects of Delayed Diagnosis

This is because a delayed diagnosis of a serious disease or medical condition can lead to the progress of the condition that will result in injury, illness, or even death. For example, a patient complains of recurring debilitating headaches. The doctor sends the patient home with a couple of aspirins and a pat on the head without ordering the standard tests to trace the nature of the headaches. Much later it turns out the patient has a brain tumor that may have been managed in the earlier stages, but the delay was enough to render it untreatable. In that case, the doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice, and a lawyer may be necessary.

Another reason delayed diagnosis can lead to death is when an emergency medical condition remains undetected, such as internal bleeding. Immediate treatment would be able to check the progress of the bleed, but without the proper diagnosis, a patient can die without receiving the proper care that could have been life-saving.

Diseases and medical conditions that are most commonly diagnosed late, if at all, include:

  • Cancers and tumors
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Strokes
  • Internal bleeding

The effects of delayed treatment for late-diagnosed medical conditions or diseases include:

  • brain damage
  • organ failure
  • hemorrhage,
  • permanent disabilities
  • paralysis
  • infection
  • death

A medical establishment may also be liable for damages if their refusal to admit a patient for whatever reason in an emergency situation results in death or serious injury. This is referred to as failure to treat, and contravenes several state and federal laws. If a hospital or clinic discharges a patient too soon in the sense that his or her condition is not yet stable, it can also be considered medical malpractice.

Insurance Bad Faith

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Getting insurance can help ease the stress if you happen to suffer losses from an accident. However, there are times where even the insurance company can prevent you from getting the right amount of compensation you are entitled for. This is called “insurance bad faith”, and when you or someone you love has been through this, you may be able to file a claim against the insurance company.

Insurance bad faith occurs when the insurance company unreasonably withholds, denies or prolongs your benefits on the policy. They can either give you unjust or unfair conduct while doing business with you. Being denied of your compensation after your accident can bring about a claim that your personal injury lawyers can help you acquire. The following are a number of “bad faith” acts that can help you determine if you can file a claim:

  1. Lowballing (or unreasonably under-settling) your claims
  2. Denying your reimbursement of the total loss
  3. Failing to immediately as well as carefully investigate a claim
  4. Deliberately giving “bad faith” with regards to policies and coverage
  5. Subjectively delaying the payments to a policy-holder

These are just some of the possible cases where you can determine if you are a victim of bad faith and if you are entitled to file for a claim. However, it is important to know that not all disputes are “bad faith” claims, as insurance companies still have the right to investigate and question the claims that they receive. Nevertheless, personal injury lawyers could help you in getting the right and fair compensation for bad faith insurance claims once it has been proven that you have been a victim of them.

There are different penalties in each state when it comes to bad faith claims, therefore knowing and understanding more about your state laws can help you in getting the right amount that you are entitled to.

Product Liability Clarified

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Product liability encompasses the manufacture, distribution, design and sale of any item that may have led to personal injury or harm to its consumers. Depending on the aspect of a product involved, a case may be made against the manufacturer, distributor, retailer, and/or marketer. Personal injury lawyers specializing in product liability will be able to formulate a strategy appropriate to a particular case. The law regulating product liability is complex, but the following is an overview.

The liability chain

Personal injury cases usually identify a single entity to bring a case against, but not in product liability. Because a product is a result of several factors working together, establishing the chain of liability is necessary to determine if only one part of the chain is responsible, or several or all contributed to the defect or failing that resulted in harm to the end user.

Proving negligence

As most personal injury lawyers know, the burden of proof is on the claimant. To prove negligence, three things have to be established:

  • Foreknowledge of the defendant of a defect or flaw in the product/service
  • Failure of the defendant to properly remedy or correct the defect or flaw
  • The defect or flaw directly caused harm or injury to the plaintiff

However, in product liability cases, the manufacturer is strictly liable. This means that negligence does not have to be proven as long as an injury or harm was proven to have been caused by a product or service. In other words, the manufacturer should know and test the product thoroughly to ensure consumer safety before sending it off.

Product description

Another aspect of product liability which may or may not be based on any actual injury or harm is truth in advertising. The manufacturer has the responsibility to accurately describe the function and performance of a product either as a written warranty or as an implied one so the manner the product was sold is understood.

Product liability cases are best handled by personal injury lawyers to ensure the plaintiff’s rights are not violated. Lawsuits are seldom routine, so a plaintiff could fail in a claim because of a technicality.

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