Do I Have a Hospital Negligence Claim?
Hospital Malpractice Claims in Alabama
Many attorneys in our state will not handle malpractice suits against hospitals or similar facilities. These lawsuits are time-consuming, expensive and complex. Alabama law requires the Plaintiff (person suing) to produce nursing experts who must establish that the hospital “breached the standard of care”. Many potential jurors are hesitant to hold against the hospital for fear the facility may shut down if the verdict is too large. As a result, most hospital malpractice lawyers in Birmingham and the state at large, will either refuse to even consider the facts or only handle the claim if the fault is slam-dunk and the injury is catastrophic.
There are many legal and procedural hurdles to Alabama hospital negligence actions:
1. Jury is not allowed to know the hospital has liability insurance.
2. Hospitals are not a guarantor of the results. Stated differently, the mere fact that there is a bad result does not make them automatically liable.
3. A mere mistake by the hospital is not enough. There has to be substantial evidence of a breach of the standards of care for nurses.
4. The claim must be brought in the County where the hospital is located.
5. State and municipal hospitals are either immune from suit or have a $100,000 cap on their potential exposure.
Despite the above, if the injury is severe enough to warrant an action for a medical error, a skilled law firm, with the proper experts, can be successful. To determine if you have a meritorious claim, your attorney will need to order the medical records and submit them to a medical expert for review. If the hospital’s conduct clearly fell below the standard of care, the next step is to determine whether or the breach was the “proximate cause” of the bad result. For example, if the emergency room nurse gave morphine to a person who’s chart clearly showed they were allergic to morphine, and as a result had a sever allergic reaction and died, the morphine medication error would be the proximate of direct cause of the resulting injury.
Hospital negligence actions may pend for several years before they come to trial. Also, unlike auto accidents, they do not generally settle quickly. However, once the case is properly prepared for trial, many cases against hospitals will settle if your legal team has done their work.