Johnson City Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Holding Healthcare Providers Accountable for Patient Injuries
The relationship between patient and medical provider should be one of utmost trust. When a patient chooses a hospital, physician, or nursing home, he or she should be able to trust that the facility and those who work there will be professional and competent. Sadly, mistakes happen all too frequently in the medical profession, and patients are the ones who pay the price.
Based in Johnson City and serving all of East Tennessee, the Johnson City medical malpractice attorneys at the Meade Law Group are here to assist victims of a provider’s failure to diagnose, surgical errors, or other preventable acts of negligence.
Tennessee Law Concerning Medical Negligence
Although lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers are usually called “medical malpractice” suits by the public, Tennessee statutory law refers to them as “health care liability actions.” Such suits can be brought against physicians, residents, interns, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacy technicians, orderlies, and others employed by hospitals, surgical centers, or other facilities.
All negligence actions, including those for medical malpractice, have four basic requirements: the claimant must show that the defendant owed him or her a legal duty, the claimant must prove a breach of that duty by the defendant, the claimant must have suffered actual damages, and there must have been a causal relationship between the claimant’s damages and the defendant’s breach of duty.
The statute pertaining to health care liability actions explains the claimant’s burden as follows:
- The person seeking to recover damages must show the “recognized standard of acceptable professional practice” in both the medical profession generally and in any specialty that is at issue;
- The standard must be pertinent to the community in which the defendant practices or a similar community;
- The standard must be that which was in effect at the time of the injuries complained of; and
- In order to comply with these evidentiary requirements, the claimant must offer expert testimony by a professional licensed in either Tennessee or one of the states that contiguously borders Tennessee (Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, or Missouri) during the year preceding the act complained of.
Tennessee law also requires that a claimant file a certificate of good faith stating that he or she has consulted an expert prior to filing suit.
Burden of Proof & Statutory Presumption
In order to prove a case of medical negligence, a party must prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. The jury is to be instructed that the mere fact that the patient was injured does not, alone, raise a presumption that the defendant acted negligently. There is, however, one exception to this general rule. In cases in which the instrumentality that caused the injury was within the defendant’s exclusive control and the injury was one that does not ordinarily occur unless there is negligence, there is a rebuttable presumption of negligence.
Statute of Limitations & Statute of Repose
There are time limits for filing any type of civil lawsuit. For medical malpractice actions, that time period is generally one year. If the injury is not discovered within the one-year statute of limitations period, a claimant may have additional time in which to sue, but no more than three years from the act of malpractice unless the defendant fraudulently concealed his or her actions or left a foreign object inside a patient.
Issues of Consent
All medical procedures come with some risk. Doctors are bound to explain the risks so that the patient can make an educated decision as to whether to have the procedure. If a patient believes that the doctor or other health care provider failed to supply sufficient information regarding the risks of the procedure that led to the claimant’s injuries, in order to recover the patient must show that the defendant failed to meet the recognized standard of acceptable professional practice in the profession (and specialty, if applicable) of the community in which the defendant practices or a similar community.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Johnson City
If you or a loved one has suffered harm at the hands of a negligent healthcare provider, we can help. The Johnson City personal injury lawyers of the Meade Law Group have been handling medical malpractice cases for many years, and we welcome the opportunity to review your case.
To schedule an appointment, call us at (423) 464-7779 or email us. We help clients throughout East Tennessee, including Kingsport, Elizabethton, and Bristol.