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Medical malpractice victims should be familiar with protections

Medical malpractice is a serious concern that can result in debilitating injuries and death. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, only behind heart disease and cancer. During 2012, $3 billion was spent paying for medical malpractice settlements and awards. Medical negligence occurs when a medical provider fails to adhere to the standard of care of a reasonably prudent provider in similar circumstances when delivering medical treatment and harm results.

Victims of medical malpractice, and their families, may suffer a variety of physical, financial and emotional harms as a result of medical negligence. Victims may suffer medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering damages. Families may suffer additional damages including funeral expenses, loss of support and services, loss of companionship and lost prospect of inheritance which may be recoverable through a wrongful death claim for damages.

There are time limits associated with a medical malpractice claim for damages so it is important for victims and their families to promptly seek legal remedies when necessary and is helpful for them to be familiar with the process. It is also important for victims to maintain medical records to help with a claim for damages. Just as it is important for patients to direct their medical care, it is also important for victims of medical malpractice to be familiar with the legal protections and resources available to them when they have suffered harm.

A personal injury or wrongful death claim for damages can help victims of medical malpractice and their families recover compensation for the harm suffered and hold negligent medical care providers accountable. Victims should understand how to assert their rights when they have been harmed by medical negligence.

Source: Forbes.com, "10 Things You Want To Know About Medical Malpractice," Demetrius Cheeks, May 16, 2013

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