Basics of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Rhode Island

photo_89336_20170508-300x204In 2017, a $40 million settlement was awarded to a North Providence man in what is believed to be the largest medical malpractice award in Rhode Island history. In 2015, $25 million was awarded to an Exeter man in what was the highest medical malpractice settlement at that time. We often hear the term medical malpractice with large settlement figures attached. Injuries and treatment resulting from medical malpractice can be extremely extensive and costly. Medical malpractice cases include many complicated components and usually involve outside medical experts. As an experienced personal injury lawyer who works with Rhode Island medical malpractice cases, Attorney David Tapalian knows that a medical malpractice lawsuit can be a lengthy and complicated process and not one that an injured person wants to go through alone. If you think you have a potential RI medical malpractice case, do not try to navigate the system on your own. Consult the expertise of the Providence, RI personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers at Tapalian Law.

Establishing a Medical Malpractice Case in Rhode Island

To determine the potential for a medical malpractice case, the injured must prove that a relationship existed between the doctor and the patient. If your neighbor is a doctor and chatted with you about your medical issues one day but had never treated you or saw you in their office for medical purposes, it would be more difficult to prove a patient/doctor relationship versus your long-time physician with a lengthy medical history file for you as their patient. Once that relationship has been clearly established, the plaintiff will need to prove negligence on the part of the medical professional and ensuing injuries and damages. It is extremely helpful to have an experienced RI medical malpractice lawyer like David Tapalian on your side to successfully prove these damages.

Proving Negligence in a RI Medical Malpractice Case

The burden of proof in a RI medical malpractice case is on the plaintiff, the injured patient, to prove negligence occurred on the part of the doctor or medical professional. Being unhappy with your results or recovery period is not enough to have a medical malpractice claim. To be able to sue for medical malpractice, the injured must be able to show that the physician caused harm, with injury and damages resulting, that another competent doctor would not have under similar circumstances. It becomes a question of whether the doctors care was considered “reasonably skillful and careful”. Said negligence needs to have caused injury and resulted in specific damages such as pain and suffering, time lost from work, additional medical expenses, or other losses.

In medical malpractice cases, qualified expert witnesses are very often called upon to give their professional opinion. This can be very useful, and often essential, in a medical malpractice case. To be a qualified medical expert witness, the person must have “acquired by reason of study or experience or both such knowledge and skill in the medical profession as to be better qualified than the fact finder to form an opinion on the particular subject of his testimony.” Expert medical witness testimony can be extremely valuable in your medical malpractice lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in RI

As with other types of Rhode Island personal injury claims, there is a 3-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a RI medical malpractice claim. That means three years from the date of injury, or date of loss. If the damage was not immediately known, then the statute is three years from when the injury should have been reasonably discovered. If you attempt to file a medical malpractice lawsuit after the statute of limitations, most likely it will not be heard. It is best to consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you incur an injury after medical treatment or immediately after you discover the injury. 

Consult an Experienced Providence Injury Lawyer for Your Medical Malpractice Claim

If you think that you or a loved one have been injured due to negligent treatment by a doctor or other medical professional, seek expert legal advice immediately. Call Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000 to find out if you have a potential RI medical malpractice claim. We will meet with you the same day at our Providence, RI or Seekonk, MA office, or if you are too injured to come to us, we will come to you. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your medical malpractice injuries.

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