Spinal Cord Injuries and Medical Malpractice
One of the most severe and devastating injuries that one can sustain is an injury to the spinal cord. The spine is the nerve center of the body, and loss of function in any one area can be life-changing. An injury is doubly painful if it is incurred due to someone else’s negligence or malpractice. If you sustain a spinal cord injury due to medical negligence, it is important that you know your rights.Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
While the causes of spinal cord injuries are varied, there are some that appear more often in malpractice contexts than otherwise. Most spinal cord injuries, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, occur due to blunt trauma, but a growing number are characterized as due to negligence, of which malpractice can be a part.
While not all medical errors rise to the level of malpractice, some do. Examples of conduct that most often fits that description include:
- Nerve damage from incorrect surgical techniques;
- Infections from improper anesthesia or painkiller administration;
- Improperly diagnosing potential obstructions to the spinal nerves; and
- Failure to diagnose degenerative conditions.
Medical professionals have an obligation to uphold the standard of care in treating patients, and if it can be proven that your doctor has failed to do so, you may be able to receive compensation.Proving Negligence
To mount a successful suit against a medical professional for malpractice, you must be able to prove the following:
- That a medical professional owed you a duty of care (that is, they were obligated to conform to a prevailing standard of medical care in treating you). This is often established by law. In California it is a general rule that a physician-patient relationship begins once a doctor has begun to treat you, as codified in the California Physician’s Legal Handbook;
- That a medical professional breached the standard of care in your case;
- That the medical professional’s negligent conduct was the actual cause of the harm you suffered; and
- That you suffered tangible harm. It does not have to be physical - it can be emotional or mental - but it must be more than transitory in nature.
It is important to remember that a breach of the standard of care can happen due to action or inaction. If a doctor decides not to perform surgery on an injury that later turns out to require it, for example, that may still be grounds for malpractice if your quality of life is severely impacted.
Any and all evidence may help in proving that the doctor’s conduct amounted to malpractice. For example, expert testimony may help in proving that another physician of similar age, ability and experience would have pursued different treatment options to the ones your doctor chose, which would arguably strengthen the case against your doctor for malpractice.Let Us Help You
An experienced legal professional can make the difference between the success and failure of your lawsuit. In a spinal cord injury suit, where injuries can be very severe, you need the best. The San Jose medical malpractice attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. have years of experience in these cases, and we know the steps to take to give you the best possible chance to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to discuss your options. We serve San Jose, the Bay Area, and the counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo, Monterey, Alameda and San Benito.