Bone Fractures and Malpractice
Generally, people do not think of bone fractures as a significant problem, the mismanagement of which could amount to medical malpractice. However, even when an injury appears slight, it must be treated appropriately, and if a doctor makes a mistake in treatment, they ought to be held accountable. Also, there are some situations where the mismanagement of a broken bone can cause significant, life-long complications. Do not be afraid to stand up for your rights.The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule
There are two ways in which broken bones may factor into a medical malpractice case. It goes without saying, but if a doctor or other medical professional is negligent to the degree where you sustain any kind of bone fracture, they are liable for malpractice. While accidents do happen, and not every accident constitutes negligence, it does happen that the actions of a medical professional can cause fractures where none previously existed, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. California subscribes to the eggshell plaintiff rule, as quoted in the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI), which states that if a plaintiff has a physical or mental/emotional condition that was “made worse by defendant’s wrongful conduct,” they must be fairly compensated for that harm if the jury finds for the plaintiff.
For example, if a patient with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) were to visit a doctor for a routine check-up, and the doctor negligently wheeled them into a doorway or another person, causing a fracture, that doctor would be liable even if the impact would not have significantly harmed a person with normal bones. The existence of a “physical or mental/emotional condition” is enough to mandate liability for causing it to worsen.Failure to Diagnose
The most common malpractice incidence involving broken bones is a failure to diagnose those fractures. It can result from something as simple as misreading an X-ray, to improperly setting a healing bone. A mere failure to diagnose, however, is not always sufficient to sustain a lawsuit. The question of standard of care comes into play.
Medical malpractice is generally defined as an instance when a doctor or other medical professional negligently fails to treat a patient in keeping with the prevailing standard of care. The standard of care is the care that would be provided by a medical professional of similar age, experience, and talent. In short, if your broken bone would have been detected by a doctor with similar experience and talent, of a similar age, it should have been detected by your doctor. If it was not, that doctor (or the hospital they work at) may be held liable for your injuries.
Failure to diagnose a broken bone can also breed secondary health problems, or even long-term conditions. Cracked vertebrae, in the perfect storm of conditions, can splinter and leave someone partially or totally paralyzed. If someone is predisposed to osteopathic conditions, the smallest bump may cause irreparable damage.A Good Attorney Can Safeguard Your Interests
Medical malpractice cases can be unbelievably complex, especially when you are in pain and unsure as to how much of it is actionable. An experienced attorney can make all the difference, especially one who understands how overwhelming it can all be. The skilled San Jose medical malpractice attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. have years of experience in these types of malpractice matters, and we know the tricks that will increase your odds of receiving the compensation you need to get back on your feet. Contact us today to discuss your options. We serve San Jose, the Bay Area, and the counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Benito, Alameda and Monterey.