Serving the State of New Hampshire Since 1908
New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Lawyers
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is defined as a violation of the standard of care on the part of a doctor, medical staff or hospital that results in an injury or wrongful death of a patient. The violation can be a result of negligence or even recklessness.
The New Hampshire medical malpractice attorneys at Upton & Hatfield represent people who have suffered serious, permanent injuries as a result of medical malpractice in New Hampshire.
Benefits of Hiring a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Hiring a medical malpractice lawyer can offer several significant benefits when you're dealing with a case involving potential medical negligence:
- Legal Expertise: Medical malpractice cases are complex and often require a deep understanding of both medical and legal aspects. Lawyers specializing in this field have the expertise to navigate through medical records, understand intricate healthcare laws, and build a strong case on your behalf.
- Case Evaluation: A skilled attorney can assess the strength of your case. They'll review medical records, consult experts, and determine if there's a valid claim for malpractice, saving you time and effort if the case is not substantial.
- Access to Medical Experts: Lawyers have access to a network of medical professionals who can provide expert opinions and testimony to support your case. These experts can help clarify medical complexities and strengthen your arguments.
- Negotiation Skills: Lawyers experienced in medical malpractice are adept at negotiating with insurance companies or opposing legal teams. They can work to secure fair compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
- Legal Procedures and Deadlines: There are strict timelines and procedures involved in filing medical malpractice claims. A lawyer ensures all paperwork is completed correctly and submitted within the necessary timeframes, preventing potential dismissal due to procedural errors.
- Maximizing Compensation: Experienced attorneys know how to assess the full extent of damages you've suffered due to medical negligence. They work to ensure you receive appropriate compensation for all losses incurred.
- Reduced Stress: Dealing with a medical malpractice case can be emotionally taxing. Having a lawyer handle the legal aspects allows you to focus on your recovery and well-being while they manage the legal complexities.
- Litigation Representation: If your case goes to trial, a skilled attorney will represent your interests in court. They'll present your case effectively, cross-examine witnesses, and argue on your behalf to seek the best possible outcome.
- Contingency Fee Arrangement: Many medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid if you win the case, usually taking a percentage of the compensation. This arrangement can make legal representation more accessible to those with limited financial resources.
- Peace of Mind: Having a knowledgeable professional by your side throughout the legal process can provide reassurance. You'll have someone advocating for your rights and guiding you through every step.
Common Forms of Medical Malpractice
- Failure to diagnose cancer and/or delay in the diagnosis
- Failure to diagnose a stroke and/or delay in the diagnosis
- Misdiagnosis of an illness or injury
- Unnecessary surgery
- Surgical errors or operating on the wrong site
- Improper medication or dosage
- Premature discharge
- Failing to take into account patient history
- Birth injuries
- Severe, disabling, catastrophic injuries
Medical malpractice is a unique area of the law, and our firm has the resources and experience to handle this type of complex, expensive litigation. We employ attorneys, nurses, and specialized personnel who concentrate on malpractice litigation.
We have extensive experience litigating these cases, and trying the cases to a jury. Our medical malpractice lawyers in New Hampshire also have the negotiating experience and judgment to obtain the best possible results for our clients.
Why Does Medical Malpractice Occur?
Medical malpractice can arise due to various contributing factors, which often involve a combination of human error, system failures, and miscommunication. Here are some common contributing factors:
- Miscommunication or Poor Communication: Ineffective communication among healthcare professionals, between patient and provider, or within a medical team can lead to misunderstandings, errors in treatment, or missed information.
- Diagnostic Errors: Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose a medical condition can lead to improper or delayed treatment, causing harm to the patient.
- Lack of Proper Documentation: Inadequate or improper documentation of patient information, medical history, treatments, or prescriptions can lead to errors in care and treatment plans.
- Inadequate Training or Supervision: Insufficient training of medical staff or lack of proper supervision can result in mistakes during procedures, surgeries, or patient care.
- Fatigue and Burnout: Healthcare providers working long hours or under stressful conditions can experience fatigue, leading to decreased attentiveness and increased likelihood of errors.
- Equipment Failure or Malfunction: Malfunctioning or improperly used medical equipment can result in patient harm.
- Poor Adherence to Safety Protocols and Guidelines: Failure to follow established protocols, guidelines, or best practices can lead to errors in patient care.
- Inadequate Informed Consent: Insufficient explanation of risks, potential complications, and alternative treatments to the patient before a procedure or treatment can lead to legal issues.
- Systemic Issues within Healthcare Facilities: Problems within the healthcare system such as overcrowding, understaffing, or inadequate resources can contribute to errors in patient care.
- Medication Errors: Mistakes in prescribing, administering, or monitoring medications can cause harm to patients, leading to malpractice claims.
- Patient-related Factors: In some cases, patient non-compliance, failure to provide accurate medical history, or not following post-treatment instructions can contribute to adverse outcomes.
The Basics of a Medical Malpractice Case
You or a loved one has been harmed by the negligence of a healthcare professional in New Hampshire. Now, you've decided to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.
To prevail in such a lawsuit, patients must prove the following:
- A provider-patient relationship existed;
- The provider was negligent (he or she did not provide treatment or care in a reasonably skillful and competent manner);
- The provider's negligence caused actual injury; and
- The injury you're claiming caused the damages you're attempting to recover.
It goes without saying that the road ahead could be long and rough. That's why we've outlined the basics of how a medical malpractice case can progress in New Hampshire.
Every claim is different, but having some basic information can help you know what to expect, which can, in turn, make the process more straightforward.
The Investigation of Medical Records
The first thing a medical malpractice lawyer will do is ask for a description of your case. She might ask, "Who do you think committed malpractice?" and ask for a description of the facts. Doctors are not legally responsible for all errors in diagnosis; sometimes nurses, physician's assistants, or other healthcare providers can be at fault.
Your lawyer will look at your medical records and bills and see if she thinks malpractice has happened from a legal standpoint. She'll then retain an expert to review the materials and offer an opinion. The gathering of records can take months, but this piece of the process is critical because medical malpractice cases are proven through expert testimony. You won't have a case if the expert witness can't opine that the defendant was negligent.
Mediation and Negotiation
Mediation and negotiation is another avenue your case could take that doesn't lead to a jury trial. Attorneys usually start talking about this after the discovery process, when each party investigates the other's legal claims and defenses. Sometimes, lawyers can work a settlement out amongst themselves. Other times, the attorneys and their respective clients will go to a mediation where a mediator, a neutral third party, will try to facilitate a settlement.
A Jury Trial
When mediation either does not take place or does not result in a settlement, the case is then scheduled for trial. Sometimes, medical malpractice trials don't start when first scheduled and can last a week or even longer. All told, from filing the lawsuit to the screening panel and on to the trial, the whole process can take over two years.
This is why an experienced medical malpractice attorney is invaluable: if any time and money is to be saved, a veteran lawyer is the one to do it.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice?
A statute of limitations is a law that prevents individuals from bringing a lawsuit against another party after a specified amount of time has passed. For medical malpractice cases in New Hampshire, the statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of the incident (New Hampshire Statutes 508:4).
There is one exception where the timeline may be extended if it was not reasonable to expect the victim to have known about their injury within those three years. In situations like this you have 3 years from the "date of discovery" to bring your claim against the responsible party.
Put Our Expert Attorneys On Your Side!
Heather M. Burns, a partner in the firm, has significant experience handling, negotiating, settling and handling jury trials of medical malpractice cases and other civil lawsuits representing aggrieved patients and other individuals. She is listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of medical malpractice.
Michael S. McGrath is also a partner at the firm. He has been a trial attorney for over nineteen years. During that time he has represented plaintiffs exclusively in both personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He is a past president of the New Hampshire Association for Justice and a lecturer at legal continuing education seminars.
Diverse Breadth of Experience
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A Legacy of Successful Results
“I was very fortunate to have Upton & Hatfield represent me. Could not of asked for a better experience. I highly recommend using Upton & Hatfield. A++” - Merrick C.
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