Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Birmingham, AL
Americans place a great deal of trust in doctors. They trust them with their own health and with the health of loved ones. So, when a doctor is negligent and causes an injury or fails to properly treat an illness, it can feel like a betrayal of trust. At the Birmingham, Alabama, law offices of Burge & Burge, we hold doctors and hospitals responsible for the damage they cause.
When a doctor has been negligent, he or she has failed to live up to the minimum standard of medical care. The idea of the standard of care is simple: doctors have a duty to act in a way that is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by other similar healthcare providers. If your doctor fails to do this and the failure causes an injury or aggravates an illness, they can be held responsible for any resulting injury or death.
Attorneys Dedicated to Every Detail
Medical malpractice claims can amount to complex legal cases, and not everyone who has suffered injury because of a medical error has a viable malpractice claim. These types of claims usually require the assistance and testimony of medical experts who are familiar with the standard of care at hospitals and other medical facilities.
Essentially, you will need to prove the following to be successful with your claim:
- The medical provider and the patient had an official relationship.
- The injuries and other losses sustained by the patient directly resulted from the medical provider’s deviation from the acceptable standard of care (i.e., malpractice).
- Another medical provider would have provided a reasonable standard of care by doing things differently in the same situation.
At Burge & Burge, we are prepared to aggressively pursue full and fair compensation in medical malpractice cases. We are dedicated to excellence in every detail of your case. We have in-depth knowledge of the complexities and nuances involved with this area of the law, and we thoroughly research the facts of each case in order to present the strongest possible claim and ensure that those who caused your injuries are held fully accountable.
Our lawyers have more than 50 years of experience helping clients with a wide range of medical malpractice cases, including:
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to treat
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries
- Emergency room errors
- Medication/pharmaceutical errors
- Nursing home negligence
Who Can be Sued for Medical Malpractice?
There are several different types of health professionals that may be liable for medical negligence or malpractice. These include:
- Physician’s Assistants
- Nurse Practitioners
- Medical Technicians
Many of these professionals are employed by hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. When this is the case, the facility can be held responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. Healthcare facilities are required to ensure that their staff is competent and properly trained and supervised. They are also required to ensure that there are an adequate number of employees on duty to provide the level of care that their patients deserve.
There is often a question about the relationship between a doctor and a hospital. Some doctors are hospital employees, but others are independent contractors who usually practice at more than one medical facility. In the latter case, the injured patient may need to bring a claim directly against the doctor. This may also be true if hospital employees cause injury to a patient while under the direct supervision of the doctor.
Whether or not you have a viable medical malpractice claim and who you can sue will depend heavily on the specific circumstances of your case. A thorough investigation will be needed to determine the correct defendant(s), so your case does not end up being tossed out on a technicality.
Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Alabama
Medical malpractice claims in Alabama are brought under the Alabama Medical Liability Act (AMLA). Claims can be filed against “a medical practitioner, dental practitioner medical institution, physician, dentist, hospital, or other health care provider.”
This Act covers most medical facilities in the state, with one notable exception being “public institutions created by the State purely for charitable or educational purposes”, which cannot be sued. This would include state-owned and university hospitals.
Those who bring medical malpractice claims can sue for a wide range of damages, which are divided into three general categories:
- General/Noneconomic Damages: These are damages for the intangible injuries that are caused by the defendant’s negligence or reckless actions. Examples include physical pain and suffering, psychological distress, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, and permanent injury.
- Special/Economic Damages: These are damages for direct monetary losses that are specific to the plaintiff’s case. Examples include the cost of surgeries and other procedures necessary to correct the damage caused by the negligence/malpractice, other past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity.
- Punitive Damages: In more limited cases, punitive damages may be awarded not as compensation to the victim, but as punishment for the wrongdoing when the defendant’s injuries resulted from especially egregious actions. In order to be awarded punitive damages, you must show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant willfully engaged in malicious, oppressive, fraudulent, or grossly negligent conduct.
There are no caps on general and special damages in Alabama, but the state does cap punitive damages at the larger of three times the amount of compensatory damages or $1.5 million.
Pursuing a medical malpractice claim is especially challenging in a state like Alabama because we are one of a handful of states that still applies the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, a plaintiff can be barred from recovering damages if they are found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying accident or event that caused their injury. This is another reason it is important to work with attorneys who have the proven ability to build a rock-solid case that will be able to stand up in court.
Contact an Experienced Birmingham, AL Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The statute of limitations for Alabama medical malpractice claims is usually two years from the date of your injury or the date you discovered it. But the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to gather the important facts and pieces of evidence necessary to build a winning case.
If you or someone close to you was injured because of the negligence of a medical or health professional, Burge & Burge is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at 205-251-9000 or toll free at 800-633-3733 to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.
We take all medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation on your behalf.