Birmingham Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Helping victims of medical negligence throughout Alabama
You have a right to expect that your doctors will treat you, and your health, with the utmost care and precision. When they do not, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries or illnesses they cause as a result of their negligence. At Mezrano Law Firm, we fight to hold the negligent parties accountable for those mistakes, and for the justice and compensation you deserve. Call our Birmingham medical malpractice lawyers today to find out how we can help if you or a loved one was injured in an Alabama healthcare facility.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, occurs when a medical provider – whether an anesthesiologist, doctor, surgeon, nurse, dentist, or other health care professional – acts in a manner that deviates from the accepted standard of care in the medical community.
We understand that doctors are humans, which means they are fallible. Not every error is in and of itself an act of malpractice; neither is every unwanted outcome. In order to prove a case of medical malpractice, you must be able to prove:
- There was an established doctor/patient relationship.
- The doctor behaved in a negligent manner, breaching the accepted standard of care.
- Your sustained injuries as a result of this breach.
- Your injuries led to specific damages.
The statute of limitation for medical malpractice claims in Alabama
You only have two years to bring a medical malpractice claim in Alabama. That two years starts on the day you were injured, or the date that your injury should have been reasonably discovered. If it was not – say, for example, a surgical sponge is left inside of you, and it goes undiscovered until after the statute of limitations has expired – then you have an additional six months after the date of discovery. All claims are barred after four years.
Special considerations about the “standard of care”
Under Alabama law, medical liability is not limited only to the doctor or nurse; you can also file a lawsuit “against a health care provider for breach of the standard of care, whether resulting from acts or omissions in providing health care, or the hiring, training, supervision, retention, or termination of care givers” (emphasis ours). In short, you are legally allowed to sue the hospital, healthcare facility, nursing home, rehabilitation facility, clinic, or other entity.
How Birmingham’s hospitals fare when it comes to care
There are 11 hospitals within the greater Birmingham area. The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization which measures and ranks the overall care we receive in hospitals throughout the country, breaks down the successes and failures of each of those 11 hospitals, using 5 categories:
- Problems with Surgery
- Practice to Prevent Errors
- Safety Problems
- Doctors, Nurses & Hospital Staff
Each of the five categories is then broken down into sub-categories, and ranked as Above Average, Average, and Below Average. You can find the full list here, but here are a few of their scores:
University of Alabama Hospital – Homewood area
1802 6th Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35233
- Overall Rank: B
- Assessment: UAB ranks Above Average in communication (a rare feat), but falls Below Average when it comes to preventative actions (like handwashing) and surgery, including patient deaths from treatable complications.
Medical West Hospital Authority (UAB affiliate) – Bessemer area
995 9th Avenue SW
Bessemer, AL 35022-4527
- Overall Rank: B
- Assessment: MWHA scores Above Average in all areas of preventing safety problems, but has mixed results in every other category. They score Below Average in communication and post-surgical infections, including blood infections.
Grandview Medical Center – Meadowbrook area
3690 Grandview Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35243
- Overall Rank: C
- Assessment: Grandview ranks Above Average in all areas for preventing infections, though they declined to report on practices designed to prevent errors. They score Below Average in the majority of surgical problem areas, including collapsed lungs, blood clots, breathing problems, and death from treatable infections.
St. Vincent’s East – Trussville area
50 Medical Park E. Drive
Birmingham, AL 35235-9987
- Overall Rank: C
- Assessment: St. Vincent’s scored Below Average in more areas than not, making their overall rank a bit of a mystery. In particular, they scored Below Average in almost every surgery-related area, as well as practices to prevent errors.
Medical malpractice claims we handle
At Mezrano Law Firm, our Birmingham medical malpractice lawyers represent personal injury victims and families whose medical provider has breached the standard of care in diagnosing or treating a medical condition. Some of the more common claims involve:
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries and pregnancy difficulties
- Brain injuries and traumatic brain injuries
- Emergency room errors, delays, and negligent treatment
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnoses of a serious illness
- Medication errors, prescription errors, and pharmacy errors
- Misdiagnoses or late diagnosis
- Nursing malpractice and nursing negligence
- Obstetrical and gynecological malpractice
- Spinal cord injuries, paraplegia, and quadriplegia
- Surgical errors
- Hospital malpractice
How much is my medical malpractice claim worth?
There is no way to assess the exact worth of a medical negligence claim during an initial consultation, because the full extent of your injuries may not be immediately clear. In some cases, you may require additional surgeries, treatments, or medications as time goes on. Generally speaking, you can claim three types of damages:
- Economic damages, such as lost wages, property damage, medical bills and expenses, and other straight-forward calculations.
- Non-economic damages, including compensation for your pain and suffering, your loss of companionship, any mental or emotional trauma you sustained, and other (more subjective) types of losses.
- Punitive damages, which designed to punish the negligent party so that he or she never makes that mistake, or acts in such a way, again. Punitive damages are capped at 3x the total compensatory award (economic and non-economic together) OR at $1.5 million, whichever is lower.
Limitations on damages
If your loved one dies because of an act of medical malpractice, your lawsuit is automatically considered a wrongful death lawsuit. In this case, you are only entitled to punitive damages.
Furthermore, Alabama adheres to a contributory negligence doctrine. This means that if you are found even 1% responsible for your injuries, you could be barred entirely from collecting for your injuries.
Why you need a Birmingham medical malpractice lawyer
When a patient suffers a devastating injury or dies because of a medical error, the doctor and hospital might not be inclined to provide information about the error to the patient and or family members. No one wants to admit when he or she is wrong, of course – but when being wrong has cost you a limb, or left you unable to walk or work, the responsible parties should be held to account for their actions.
The Mezrano Law Firm works with highly qualified medical experts who provide an objective opinion about whether the appropriate standard of care was followed. Claims of malpractice against health care providers and hospitals are generally some of the most difficult types of personal injury and wrongful death cases to win, because Alabama’s laws favor the doctors.
They are difficult cases, but they are not impossible. This is why it is so important to be represented by an experienced Birmingham medical malpractice attorney. We review your records, get your documentation filed correctly and within the right time line, and fight for your future.
Were you a victim of medical negligence in Alabama? Call Mezrano Law Firm today.
When you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a negligent doctor or hospital practice, you deserve a lawyer who works with you. At Mezrano Law Firm, we consider your best options, and create paths forward for you and your family. To schedule a free consultation at our Birmingham office, please call 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form.
If you have a case, you have a lawyer. Call us today to learn more.