Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers In Maui
You should be able to rely on your health care practitioner to give you the best possible care that their education, training and experience can provide. Unfortunately, in far too many instances, health care providers fail to provide the proper care and treatment to their patients. If they become careless, sloppy or even reckless with their patients’ health, serious and preventable misdiagnoses, treatment errors, surgical errors, medication errors and other harmful mistakes and omissions can occur.
If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries because of a negligent physician or another medical provider, Hawaii law entitles you to pursue a compensation claim for your injuries and damages. Attorney Matt Menzer has over 30 years of experience successfully handling medical negligence cases. He and our team at Menzer Law Firm, PLLC, have the knowledge, skills and experience you need to aggressively pursue these kinds of specialized claims.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a medical provider’s failure to uphold the appropriate standard of care, which results in harm to a patient. A poor outcome or complication arising from medical treatment is not always malpractice. Physicians have to make judgment calls, and as long as they fall within the applicable standard of care, they are not considered to be negligence.
Common Medical Malpractice Cases
Here are just some of the types of claims we can help you pursue:
- Errors in diagnosis, including delayed diagnoses, misdiagnoses and failures to diagnose
- Medication errors, including incorrect doses, inappropriate drugs and preventable drug interactions
- Nursing and hospital errors, including incorrect or delayed treatments and hospital-acquired infections
- Surgical errors, including anesthesia errors, incorrect procedures, procedures poorly performed and foreign objects left in the body
Even if your case involves different details than those listed above, please contact us to discuss your options.
Who Can Be Held Responsible For Medical Malpractice?
You can file a Hawaii medical malpractice claim against any licensed health care provider or facility. This includes physicians, nurses, physical therapists, mental health care providers, dentists, hospitals, surgery centers and other treatment facilities.
The Medical Malpractice Claim Process
The medical malpractice claim process includes the following:
- Obtaining a certification by a medical expert: Hawaii requires that you have a physician in the same specialty relevant to your case review your circumstances and provide an opinion that the doctor was negligent. Certification is not necessary if you claim your physician failed to obtain informed consent.
- Filing a claim: The claim is filed with the Medical Inquiry and Conciliation Panel (MICP) at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
- Going through a nonbinding hearing with the MICP: A three-person panel consisting of one physician and two attorneys will preside over a hearing. You can present your evidence of medical negligence, and the physician can present a defense. The panel can offer an opinion, but neither you nor the physician must adhere to it.
- Conducting settlement negotiations: During the MICP claim process, you may have the opportunity to negotiate a settlement with the physician or medical facility.
- Filing a lawsuit: This is an option if you are unable to resolve the medical malpractice claim through the MICP hearing process. Generally, you have two years from the date of the negligence to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, if you were unaware of the medical malpractice when it occurred, the statute of limitations begins to run when you knew or reasonably should have known of the negligent act.
This is a complex set of steps, which is one reason why you should work with a skilled attorney.
Hawaii Medical Malpractice FAQ
There are a lot of myths, misunderstandings and incorrect information about medical malpractice online. That’s why we’ve provided answers to some common questions about medical malpractice in Hawaii.
How do I know if I’ve been a victim of medical malpractice?
In some cases, malpractice is immediately noticeable. You might come out of anesthesia to discover the surgeon performed the procedure on the wrong part of your body. But in most cases, it’s harder to figure out if your doctor committed malpractice. Sometimes, for example, there are unexpected complications from surgeries or treatments that are not caused by medical malpractice. In order to bring a legal claim for injuries due to a medical error, you must be able to prove that the doctor or other health care provider was negligent, which means that they breached the standard of care of a reasonably prudent physician or other health care provider. You must also be able to prove that you were seriously injured as a direct result of that negligent medical act. In order to prove that the doctor was negligent and that their negligence caused you serious injuries, the law requires that you have one or more expert medical witnesses (usually doctors) who are willing to testify in support of your case after they review all the critical medical records. The best way to evaluate your case and determine if you have been a victim of medical malpractice is to engage an experienced attorney who specializes in medical malpractice litigation to investigate your case and secure the high-quality medical experts needed to successfully evaluate your case.
What kind of damages are available in a medical malpractice case?
You are entitled to receive certain kinds of compensatory damages in a medical malpractice claim, including compensation for your financial, physical and emotional injuries. We’ll pursue damages for your past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, disfigurement, disabilities, physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and your emotional distress and pain and suffering. Bear in mind, though, that Hawaii places a $375,000 per person limit on physical and emotional pain and suffering compensation under Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 663-8.7.
Who do I sue if I’ve been a victim of medical malpractice?
If you are the victim of medical malpractice, we’ll likely file a claim against the negligent medical provider and/or their employer – a surgeon and a physician’s group or a pharmacist and a drug store, for example. Sometimes, there is more than one responsible party, and it is necessary to file a malpractice lawsuit against multiple defendants.
However, the first step in a Hawaii medical tort case isn’t filing a lawsuit – it’s filing a complaint with the Medical Inquiry and Conciliation Panel (MICP). The panel’s decision isn’t binding, but Hawaii law requires you to take this step before going to court.
What kinds of mistakes are considered medical malpractice?
Under Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 671-1, a medical tort (malpractice) means one or more of the following occurred:
- Professional negligence
- The rendering of a professional service without informed consent
- An error or omission in professional practice by a health care provider, which caused a patient’s injury or death
In other words, for a medical mistake or error to be considered medical malpractice in Hawaii, it must have either been an act or failure to act outside of the proper standard of care or an act performed without your informed consent. Suffering a known side effect or complication isn’t malpractice if the doctor’s conduct was appropriate based on how other physicians in the same field would have acted in the same or similar circumstances.
Common types of medical malpractice include misdiagnoses, unreasonably delayed diagnoses, misreading of X-rays, medication and pharmaceutical errors, nursing errors, hospital errors like a hospital-acquired infection and surgical errors.
What are the elements of a successful medical malpractice claim?
There are four elements that make you eligible to bring a medical malpractice claim. You have to prove that the doctor had a duty of care, breached that duty of care, caused you harm, and caused you significant damages. You’ll often see these elements described as duty, breach, causation and damages. Stated in other words, in order to have a successful claim for compensation under Hawaii medical negligence law, you need to show:
- The defendant was a health care provider, which Hawaii defines as a licensed physician, osteopathic physician, surgeon, physician assistant, podiatrist or health care facility.
- You had an established relationship with that doctor or facility – in other words, you were a patient. Without this, the doctor might not have had a duty to provide you with the required level of care.
- The doctor either failed to obtain your informed consent for a treatment or failed to provide care or treatment within the appropriate standard of care.
- You can produce the sworn testimony of one or more qualified medical experts who will testify that the defendant health care provider was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries.
- You suffered a significant injury that is either new or an aggravation of an existing condition.
- You have suffered damages as a result of your injuries.
Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation
To schedule a free initial consultation, submit your information through our online form or call 808-427-5752. We accept cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no upfront costs, and you only owe us a fee if we obtain compensation for you.