- Medical Malpractice
As both an attorney and a doctor, Bradley Kramer, M.D., Esq. is equipped to handle any medical malpractice case regardless of the type of injury suffered. Medical malpractice occurs whenever a medical professional deviates from the accepted standard of care for his or her field of medicine. All medical professionals and health care providers have an ethical and legal obligation to give every patient responsible and safe treatment and care. Medical malpractice often results in severe injuries that can leave a patient debilitated for life. It is also one of the leading causes of wrongful death in California. If you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. At The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., our experienced principal attorney is a California licensed physician and surgeon and is especially qualified to handle your medical malpractice claim. We will aggressively fight to protect your rights and help you secure the compensation that you deserve. Recoverable damages may include medical costs (and future medical costs), pain and suffering, mental anguish, rehabilitation, lost wages, and other associated costs.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Despite the best efforts of modern medicine, bad results sometimes happen after medical treatment that is simply no one’s fault. Not all patients respond to treatment and some may even suffer further injury. Yet, there are many instances when a bad outcome is the result of medical malpractice. Malpractice may range from the acts of grossly reckless physicians and health care providers to the acts of good and respected doctors who were momentarily negligent in their treatment of a patient. However, in any case of medical malpractice, the injured patient has a right of recovery against the negligent provider. Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice in California include:
- Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a serious disease or illness
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failing to provide treatment in a timely manner
- Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
- Failure to provide standard follow-up care
- Misinterpretation of lab results (or lab mistakes)
- Failure to order necessary tests
- Surgical errors (such as performance of unnecessary surgery due to misdiagnosis, cutting in the wrong location, leaving surgical instruments inside a patient’s body, performing surgery on the wrong patient, etc.)
- Anesthesia errors (such as incorrect dosages, incorrect timing, failing to gather sufficient pre-operative information, failing to monitor a patient, etc.)
- Hospital or care facility errors (such as early release, providing treatment to the wrong patient, unnecessary treatment, medication errors, failing to properly monitor a patient, etc.)
- Birth injuries
- Brain injuries
What must be shown in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
The injured party in a medical malpractice action must show the following things in order to win:
- That the medical professional was responsible for your care and acted negligently. You must prove that the doctor or health care provider failed to meet the accepted standard of care in his or her field of medicine. In other words, the medical professional made a mistake that a reasonable and careful doctor would not have made under the same or similar circumstances. This usually requires the use of an expert witness to testify concerning the mistake.
- That the medical professional’s mistake caused the injury. It must be shown that if the doctor had not made the mistake, the injury would not have happened or would not have been as severe. Expert witness testimony is also used to establish this element.
- That the injured party experienced damages, such as a real injury. Physical damage can include any resulting injury or death from the health care provider’s negligence. It may also include such things as lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, the loss of a loved one, etc.
Medical Malpractice Attorney in California
Medical malpractice lawsuits are subject to different laws than the typical personal injury claim and can be very complex. Strict rules and statutes of limitations for filing claims must be followed and it is essential to secure the aid of an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney that knows the law and understands the medical and scientific aspects of the case. At The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., we have both the legal and the medical experience to build a strong case in your favor and help you get the compensation that you deserve. If you believe that you or a family member is the victim of medical wrongdoing, call our office in Los Angeles at (310) 289-2600 as soon as possible.
Q & A With Bradley I. Kramer, MD, Esq.
Interviewer: Do I need an attorney for a Medical Malpractice Case?
Dr. Kramer: Unequivocally. Without question, any person who believes they were injured by medical malpractice needs to call an attorney who has significant experience in the medical field. There are a lot of personal injury attorneys out there that have no experience in medicine whatsoever. I would submit that those attorneys are not well equipped to handle medical malpractice cases. The reason my office is so well equipped to handle medical malpractice cases is because I am a licensed physician and surgeon in the state of California, as well as being an attorney. When any person comes into my office, I can not only understand 100% what happened in that hospital or medical clinic, but, on many occasions, I have actually performed that procedure myself. I have the ability to evaluate these cases in a way that almost no other attorney can do in Los Angeles County.
Interviewer: What are some of the most common medical malpractice claims you have handled?
Dr. Kramer: There are a variety of medical malpractice claims that can be made in the same way that there are a variety of different types of vehicle accidents, be it car or truck or bicycle. The most common medical malpractice claims are usually going to be a surgery gone wrong or failure to diagnose. Those would be the two most common inquiries that I get. There are also some items such as pharmaceutical negligence, failure to treat, abandonment, and lack of informed consent. There are also birth injuries I have handled, also wrongful death injuries, pharmaceutical overdoses in clinics, hospitals, outpatient facilities as well as pharmacies. All of these fit into the medical malpractice world.
Interviewer: How do I know if I have a case?
Dr. Kramer: The first step in any malpractice case is to get the medical records. Under HIPA laws and also California laws, every patient who receives treatment from a medical provider or a healthcare provider is entitled to view those records. The first step in any medical malpractice case is to get a copy of those records and to put them in the mail to an attorney who is knowledgeable about medical malpractice cases. One of the biggest differences or benefits of retaining my office as opposed to a general personal injury attorney’s office is, when I receive medical records, I do not need to send them out to a physician to review them. I conduct all of the medical reviews of those records in house. I can look at records and know in two or three hours, generally, whether or not there is a viable claim there. If there is, I will immediately bring that person in for an interview and talk to them about their case and what their goals are from that case, and get that claim filed. It should also be noted that unlike car accident cases, the statute of limitations on a medical malpractice case is only one year. So, it’s a very short leash for these types of cases.
Interviewer: How does a medical malpractice claim differ from a personal injury claim?
Dr. Kramer: Ultimately, at the end of the day, a personal injury case and a medical malpractice case both involve individuals who were injured. The difference between a medical malpractice case and a personal injury case is that in a medical malpractice case, that individual is going to need medical expert testimony to state that the injuries that they incurred were a direct result of that physician’s or that nurse’s failure to meet the standard of care. Not only did the doctors do something that they should not have done, but that the indiscretion, failure to follow protocol, was a direct cause of the injury suffered by the individual. (30:01)
Interviewer: Do you feel that your knowledge in the medical field helps you to pick the best expert?
Dr. Kramer: Certainly. I have contacts within the community in virtually every discipline in medicine who could evaluate and act as an expert in medical malpractice cases. I have spent years developing these relationships so that I get an honest opinion from experts right off the bat as to whether or not a claim has merit. I do not go through multiple experts trying to get favorable testimony. When the physicians I have arrangements with receive a case from me, they know that what I am looking for is an honest evaluation of those cases.
Interviewer: What kind of compensation can I receive for a surgical error?
Dr. Kramer: Currently in California, we have a very Draconian system in place called MICRA. And MICRA is a series of laws that limits the compensation for medical malpractice victims. There are a variety of limitations, but the most notable one is that there is a $250,000.00 limit for all pain and suffering associated with a medical malpractice case. And that involves anything from a surgery gone bad, to loss of a limb, to wrongful death. The only way to get above that limit is to have future medical needs as a result of that injury, or to have lost earnings as a result of that injury. Outside of that, there are a lot of cases that are limited to that $250,000.00 cap.
Interviewer: How does someone know if they have a failure to diagnose claim?
Dr. Kramer: Failure to diagnose claims are very difficult to know about until an actual diagnosis is made. The types of failure to diagnose claims that I handle generally revolve around individuals who go to a physician or nurse and are ultimately diagnosed with, let’s say cancer, or some sort of bone issue, bone disease or leukemia, who come to me and say, “I was making note of these symptoms months or years ago and no one ever did anything to work up that condition.” I have cases currently where you have misreading of x-rays that allowed, for example, cancer to develop far longer than it otherwise should have. As a result, those individuals have suffered significant injuries and sometimes death.
Interviewer: How do you prove that someone has the criteria for a failure to diagnose?
Dr. Kramer: The only way to really prove a failure to diagnose claim is to have an expert on board who will evaluate the case; and just to use an example, in a radiology case where you have a chest x-ray where the radiologist misreads film which allows the cancer to grow and spread for some certain amount of time. But in addition to having a radiologist, for example, say that the radiologist misread the film, you have to have a tie in between that misreading, that failure to diagnose, and causation. This means that as a result of that failure, the cancer was allowed to spread and grow and resulted in a worse condition for that individual than that individual otherwise would have had. That involves all cases in failure to diagnose.