Medical mistakes cause a tremendous number of personal injuries in this country and are the third leading cause of death in the United States. While most doctors and other medical professionals provide quality care to their patients, medical mistakes, typically due to inattention or inadequate communication among medical staff, occur far too often. This is where medical malpractice comes in. If you have been harmed by a doctor or other medical professional due to incompetence or negligence, you may very well be able to bring a lawsuit against that person and/or the hospital or facility that employs them.
Because proving medical malpractice is a complicated process, requiring comprehensive knowledge of the law, it is crucial that you bring such a case to a medical malpractice attorney with the strong background and first-rate skills necessary to handle it. If you reside in Nashville, around the Vanderbilt hospital area or Middle Tennessee and have suffered an injury because of medical malpractice, you should seek the counsel of Brian Cummings at Cummings Law in Nashville. He will evaluate your case carefully and, if he determines it is a viable one, will take care of all of its legal aspects. He is always laser-focused on winning you the highest possible amount of compensation as he has done with so many other clients. Brian Cummings is compassionate as well as astute and views his job as lifting the logistical burdens of your case so that you can concentrate on healing from your physical and emotional trauma.
Understanding the Parameters of Medical Malpractice
You cannot bring a medical malpractice lawsuit simply because a medical mistake occurred or because you were displeased with your medical treatment. To have a viable medical malpractice claim you must be able to prove that medical negligence has resulted in personal injury, a worsened condition, or unreasonable complications. Of course, in worst case scenarios, medical malpractice may result in wrongful death. Cummings Law also handles these tragic cases, obtaining compensation for surviving family members.
Various Kinds of Medical Malpractice
Unfortunately, there are a great many points along the road to proper diagnosis and treatment at which things can go terribly wrong. These include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failure to diagnose
- Emergency room errors
- Hospital negligence
- Lack of informed consent
- Nursing home abuse
- Surgical mistakes
- Post-surgical infection
- Prescription or pharmacy errors
If you have been a victim of medical malpractice in Tennessee, you are entitled to substantial compensation and Cummings Law will see to it that you get it. You should be aware that there are certain time restrictions and caps on damages in our state — another good reason for you to have a well-informed attorney at your side.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Tennessee
In Tennessee, your medical malpractice claim must be filed within one year of the date the injury is discovered — since in many cases medical complications take some time to become apparent. Even so, you cannot bring a medical malpractice case to court if more than 3 years have elapsed since the date of the original injury. Exceptions are made, however, in the case of patients under the age of 18 and in certain unusual circumstances.
Types of Damages You May Be Awarded When We Win Your Case
Suffering a medical malpractice injury is often life-altering. The state recognizes that victims deserve several possible kinds of compensation for the mistreatment they have endured from people and facilities they had reason to trust with their care.
- Economic damages reimburse financial costs that have been paid by the plaintiff or will have to be paid in the future. These include medical and rehabilitative expenses, lost present and future income, and costs related to long-term disability.
- Non-economic damages are reimbursements for consequences of the malpractice to which it is harder to assign a monetary amount, such as pain and suffering, impairment or disfigurement, loss of consortium, or loss of enjoyment of life. Brian Cummings is experienced at determining non-economic damages based on legal guidelines. Though the real costs of non-economic damages are incalculable, receiving such compensation will hopefully reassure you that your losses are being acknowledged and that justice is being served.
- Punitive Damages are only awarded in cases in which the defendant’s behavior is particularly egregious — malicious, intentional, fraudulent or reckless. If the medical professional responsible for your injury and pain was impaired by drugs or alcohol, intentionally cut corners resulting in substandard care, or attempted to conceal his or her misdeeds by altering or destroying medical records, you may receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed both to punish the offender and to prevent others from behaving in a similarly egregious manner.
Determining Fault in Tennessee
The laws determining fault in personal injury cases differ from one state to another, so it is essential that you have a Tennessee medical malpractice attorney working on your case. Brian Cummings has in-depth knowledge of Tennessee Modified Comparative Fault law, though this law doesn’t often apply in medical malpractice cases. A patient might be considered to bear some of the blame for a medical mistake if he or she neglected to fully disclose known medical history or personal behavior. In such cases, if the patient is found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the incident, he or she will be unable to receive any compensation. If the patient is found to be under 50 percent responsible, the amount of the award will be lessened by the percentage of the patient’s determined fault.
Caps on Damages in Tennessee
Like many other states, Tennessee places a cap on medical malpractice damages, but only on non-economic ones. In Tennessee, non-economic damages are capped at $750,000 for all types of medical malpractice, including healthcare liability actions. Exceptions are made, however, for catastrophic injuries, in which case the cap on damages is raised to $1 million. According to Tennessee law, catastrophic injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis
- Amputation of two hands, two feet, or one of each
- Third-degree burns covering 40 percent or more of the body or face
- Wrongful death of a parent of a minor child or children
In Tennessee, there is no cap on damages if:
- The defendant had a specific intent to inflict serious physical injury
- The defendant intentionally falsified, destroyed, or concealed pertinent records
- The defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorney
Not only are we well-versed in all aspects of medical malpractice laws in the state of Tennessee, but we are highly capable negotiators and aggressive litigators. Once we take your case, we will work hard to develop strategies to bring it to a successful conclusion. We will examine all related medical records and interview all available witnesses. In addition, we have the resources to call in outside medical experts to testify on your behalf. Our goal is always to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. You can get in touch with us by phone or by filling out a contact form on our website.