Frequently Asked Tennessee Medical Malpractice Questions
Answers from an experienced Murfreesboro medical malpractice Attorneys
We want to trust our doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals. We certainly don’t seek medical treatment intending to be injured. Yet, as with every profession, mistakes are made and things go wrong. Although patients are usually presented with a seemingly endless litany of warnings and possible side effects before receiving treatment, sometimes it is unclear to patients whether they actually consented to risk suffering injuries that they have sustained as the result of their medical treatment. The law firm of Kidwell, South, Beasley and Haley has been answering questions about medical malpractice from Murfreesboro residents for over forty years, including:
- What is medical malpractice?
- What is the “standard of care” determined in Tennessee?
- Did I waive my rights to a malpractice claim when I signed a consent form?
- How long do I have to file a malpractice claim?
- Can a nurse, hospital, or other health care professional commit medical malpractice?
What is medical malpractice?
In Tennessee, the elements of medical malpractice are established when:
- A patient suffers an injury during medical treatment;
- The injury was caused by an act or omission by a health care professional; and
- That act or omission failed to meet the applicable “standard of care”—whether any “reasonable” health care professional in this geographic area would have committed that same act or omission under the same circumstances.
How is the “standard of care” determined in Tennessee?
Because of the scientific nature of medical treatment, it is necessary for an expert in that particular field of medicine at issue to provide an opinion concerning the course of action which should have been taken under the circumstances, compared against the actual performance of the professionals who treated you. Without such an expert opinion, you cannot make a malpractice claim. A knowledgeable Tennessee medical malpractice attorney has the professional connections and resources to locate a credible, qualified expert in the necessary field who can testify on your behalf.
Did I waive my rights to a malpractice claim when I signed a consent form?
Not necessarily. A consent form is designed to indicate that you are aware of the risks and potential side effects of the procedure you are about to undergo, such as the risks involved associated with the administration of anesthesia. However, a signature on a consent form is never an agreement to receive negligent care, and never waives the right to sue for an injury suffered as the result of negligent care.
How long do I have to file a malpractice claim?
Compared to other states, Tennessee has a relatively short statute of limitations for the filing of a medical practice claim—only one year from the date of the injury or the discovery of the injury. Because of this, and because of the sometimes time-consuming nature of acquiring a proper diagnosis and determining possible negligence, it is important to contact a Tennessee medical malpractice as quickly as possible upon an initial suspicion of possible medical malpractice.
Can a nurse or other health care worker commit medical malpractice? Can I sue the hospital?
Yes. All health care professionals are required to observe a standard of care relevant to their respective roles, and institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and walk-in clinics must also meet a standard of care regarding all aspects of patient care relevant to their roles as medical facilities.
It is important to note that a medical malpractice claim is often expensive to pursue. Acquiring the necessary expert opinion from a qualified can be expensive, as such experts are usually themselves medical doctors. As a result, pursuit of even a valid medical malpractice claim might not worth pursuing if the amount of damages that you have suffered is not enough to justify these litigation expenses.
Medical malpractice is a highly specialized area of law, requiring an attorney with experience specializing in these claims; the ability to understand the complex, often highly technical, scientific evidence presented in such case; and the professional connections and resources to search for and locate a credible, qualified expert who can submit an opinion on your behalf.
Murfreesboro medical malpractice attorneys are on your side after an injury due to medical negligence
The Murfreesboro medical malpractice attorneys at Kidwell, South, Beasley and Haley have been dedicated to helping those injured by negligent health care providers for more than forty years. To learn whether you are entitled to compensation for injuries which may have been caused by health care professionals, contact us today at 615-893-1331 for a free consultation. Remember—in Tennessee, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within a very short period of time. The sooner you contact us, the more we can help you.