If you have been
- wrongfully injured as a result of misdiagnoses
- received an improper medication dosage
- been injured due to surgical negligence
- suffered abuse or neglect in a long-term care setting
you may need a medical malpractice attorney.
In this article, we discuss the basics of medical malpractice in Missouri to help you determine whether you have a case that could potentially win a settlement before listing five of the top law firms in Missouri that offer medical malpractice representation.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a situation that occurs when a doctor, health care professional, or hospital acts through negligence or omits acts that lead to injury to a patient.
Negligence can result from errors in the treatment or diagnosis or it can occur during aftercare or in the management of the patient’s health. In order for a given claim to be considered medical malpractice according to the law, it must meet the following characteristics:
● There must be a violation of the accepted Standard of Care.
The law says that there are certain standards in medicine that are recognized in the profession.
According to these standards, health care professionals must act prudently under similar circumstances.
These are known as the Standard of Care and patients have the right to expect that the doctors and nurses, and health care facilities that deliver care will behave within this Standard of Care. If a patient receives substandard care in a health care context and an injury results, the patient may be able to receive compensation for medical malpractice.
● An injury must have been caused by an omission or negligent act in a health care context.
A medical malpractice claim only has validity if, in addition to the violation of the Standard of Care, the patient sustains an injury as a result. The patient must be able to prove that they were directly injured by the omission of proper care or as a result of negligence according to the Standard of Care. An injury without negligence or omission that occurs in a healthcare setting where doctors, nurses, and other health professionals are behaving at a high or even average Standard of Care, is not a medical malpractice case.
● The injury must result in significant damage to the patient.
Because of the expense involved in litigating a medical malpractice case, patients must be able to show that they incurred significant damages as a result of their injury.
Small damages may not be worth pursuing because the cost of doing countless hours of deposition testimonies and calling doctors or other healthcare professionals to provide expert testimony may actually result in a financial loss for the patient.
In order to justify pursuing a medical malpractice claim, the injury should result in a loss of income, unusual pain and/or disability, hardship and suffering, and significant past and future medical bills.
Medical Malpractice Examples
There are a number of different forms that medical malpractice can take, but below are some of the most common examples of medical malpractice cases that lead to a lawsuit:
● Failure to recognize and diagnose symptoms properly
● Failure to order the appropriate tests to diagnose a disease or disorder
● Not taking the patient’s medical history
● Disregarding the patient’s medical history
● Premature discharge from a healthcare facility
● Poor aftercare
● Improper dosage prescribed for medication
● Wrong prescription medication
● Errors in surgery
● Surgery done on the wrong site on the body
● Unnecessary surgery
● Ignoring laboratory results
● Misreading laboratory results
How to Find a Good Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The best way to find a good medical malpractice lawyer is to look for an attorney who is Board Certified in Medical Malpractice litigation.
ABPLA Board Certified attorneys are ranked among the best medical malpractice lawyers in the nation. Board certification with the ABPLA ensures that the attorney that you choose has achieved a certain standard of practice that has been demonstrated and approved by this organization.
Proving Medical Malpractice in Missouri
People make honest mistakes, but this doesn’t mean that medical malpractice is okay. The most common reasons why patients pursue medical malpractice in Missouri are listed below:
● Delayed diagnoses
● Surgical errors
● Gross negligence
● Informed consent violations
Other reasons why medical malpractice claims may be pursued include prescription errors, birth injuries and trauma, medical product liabilities, negligence, and more.
To prove that you’re a victim of medical malpractice, you’ll have to go through a process that’s similar in many ways to the process of proving personal injury due to negligence with just a few exceptions:
● The plaintiff (the party that is suing) must prove first that a doctor-patient relationship existed.
● The plaintiff must prove negligence in some way. In other words, if you’re suing a doctor for negligence, you will have to prove that another doctor would have behaved differently and more responsibly in the same situation.
● The plaintiff must prove that the doctor’s negligence led to the plaintiff’s injuries.
● The plaintiff must prove that a real injury did in fact occur.
How long do you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Missouri?
If you suffer injury due to a health professional’s negligence, there is a two year statute of limitations on your claim. In other words, in Missouri, if you suffer from an injurious incident caused by a health care institution or professional, you have two years from the date of the incident to file your medical malpractice suit to sue. If you wait too long and try to file a claim beyond the two year statute of limitations, you will not be able to sue for medical malpractice in Missouri.
What percentage do medical malpractice lawyers get?
The fees that medical malpractice lawyers charge in Missouri are usually negotiable and many attorneys take malpractice cases on a contingency basis. What this means is that if you win your malpractice case, the lawyer will keep a percentage of the final settlement as their payment. Typically, this amount is between 20-40 percent, but always ask your lawyer what their fees are before you decide on the attorney that’s right for you. Some medical malpractice lawyers charge hourly in Missouri.
Do most medical malpractice cases settle?
Most medical malpractice cases do settle outside of court because neither side really wants to go through court litigation. Malpractice cases that do make it to court are typically very expensive and time-consuming. As a general rule, only the cases that involve two parties who can’t agree on the settlement amount will end up going to trial as a last resort. About 90% of medical malpractice cases settle before going to court in Missouri.
Although the average amount received when one or both parties decide to go to trial is higher than when a medical malpractice case is settled, going to court presents many more risks. Even when a case appears solid, the attorney and the client both risk the chance of finding a vital piece of information that destroys their case, thus leading to no payment for the client or for the attorney. For this reason, many clients and attorneys opt to settle for a lesser amount of money rather than going to court to try and receive a higher amount. It’s more likely that the client will receive adequate compensation by settling, especially with the help, support, and advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney like the ones listed below.
The 5 Best Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Missouri
Buchanan Williams Attorneys at Law are based in St. Louis / Joplin. They’ve been providing medical malpractice services since 1984 specializing in wrongful death, medical malpractice, personal injury, workplace injuries, family law, and criminal law. They only collect a fee when they win their client’s cases.
Some of the many medical malpractice claims that Buchanan Williams Attorneys at Law handle include diagnosis mistakes, surgical errors, dental malpractice, OB/GYN negligence, birth/newborn trauma, chiropractic negligence, medication errors, and more. The attorneys and staff at this firm are committed to finding out the truth and providing their clients with appropriate compensation and the peace of mind that they’re being taken care of legally.
Buchanan Williams is ranked in the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys and they have an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Super Lawyers have also recognized Buchanan Williams as among the top in the country.
Buchanan Williams Attorneys At Law is located at the following addresses:
Corporate Center Joplin
1105 E. 32nd St. #5
Joplin, MO 64804
St. Louis Office
2240 S. Brentwood Boulevard
Brentwood, MO 63144
201 E. 3rd Street
Carthage, MO 64836
The Finney Law Office is made up of a team of medical malpractice attorneys who have been involved in cases that are listed in Missouri’s top 10 verdicts and settlements. One large, groundbreaking medical malpractice case that they won was paid by the St. Louis Hospital. They only work with major personal injury claims to ensure that they can give each of their clients the attention they really need. Cases are handled on a contingency basis, so clients don’t pay unless the Finney Law Office team wins the case.
The team at Finney Law Office, LLC has over 30 years of experience getting compensation from insurance companies. They are ranked in the top 10 for Missouri medical malpractice attorneys on Expertise.com. Their clients include families of senior citizens who were abused in long-term care facilities as well as patients whose surgeons neglected to remove medical equipment before suturing them up, and patients whose physicians failed to diagnose them, resulting in long-term injury due to unnecessary medical problems.
The Finney Law Office is located at the following address:
225 South Meramec Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63105
Flanagan and Peel is a full-service firm that offers medical malpractice legal counsel at both federal and state levels. They have the ability to serve their clients in many states and advice clients in most litigation areas. The firm is committed to creating a trust-based relationship with each client and establishing honest communication. Flanagan and Peel remains up-to-date on all legal matters and follows all new updates and changes to the law so as to provide the best representation for their clients.
The team at Flanagan and Peel, PC has over 60 years of experience with medical malpractice suits, but they also work with personal injury cases involving car accidents and workplace injuries. The most common medical malpractice lawsuits that they work with involve nursing home negligence, misdiagnoses, surgical errors, and pharmaceutical errors.
Flanagan and Peel, PC is located at the following address:
133 S 11th St. Ste. 350
St. Louis, MO 63102
Gray, Ritter, & Graham was founded in 1946 and they currently represent medical malpractice clients who have been seriously injured by negligence or omission or wrongfully killed due to birth injuries, surgical errors, hospital negligence, misdiagnosis, or nursing home neglect. The team at Gray, Ritter, & Graham is made up of attorneys and nurse paralegals who can represent clients in Missouri as well as Arkansas, Illinois, and the surrounding areas.
Gray, Ritter, & Graham specialize in medical malpractice injuries involving wrongful death and catastrophic injuries. One of the most common types of cases that they work with includes medication errors due to incorrect dosages and prescriptions written by both doctors and pharmacists. They are ranked in the top 10 at Expertise.com.
Gray, Ritter, & Graham is located at the following address:
701 Market St., Ste. 800
St. Louis, MO 63101
Hoffman and Gelfman, PC has over 50 years of experience as a personal injury and medical malpractice law firm in St. Louis, Missouri. They provide client representation for all types of medical malpractice including nursing home neglect and abuse, surgical errors, lack of informed consent, birth injury, misdiagnosis, and failure to properly diagnose cancer. Hoffman and Gelfman, PC regularly deal with hospital negligence cases.
Hoffman and Gelfman are ranked in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Association of Trial Lawyers. They were given special recognition by Super Lawyers in 2019, as well as the AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell organization for professional excellence. To date, they have received over $350 million in settlements and verdicts for their clients.
Hoffman and Gelfman are located at the following address:
133 S. 11th St., Suite 310
St. Louis, MO 63102