San Jose Medical Malpractice Lawyer

According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data and the current estimates for 2023, San Jose has a population of just over 1 million people. It is the third largest city in California and the 10th largest city in the United States. According to the U.S. News list of Best Regional Hospitals, San Jose also is home to no less than a dozen hospitals that provide health services to its million residents. 

Although health care in San Jose is abundant, a recent report about the standard of care provided at its primary hospital--Santa Clara Valley Medical Center—is concerning. After the death of one patient and severe injuries suffered by another, both as a result of suicide attempts, state investigators concluded that the hospital failed “to ensure patient safety and quality of care.”

The systemic failures leading to the investigation at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center were shocking and tragic. But failure to provide the appropriate level of care to patients is something that happens far too often in many hospitals. When it does, the best response may be to file a medical malpractice claim against the parties who are responsible.

What Is a Medical Malpractice Claim?

A medical malpractice claim is a lawsuit filed against a health care provider. In a medical malpractice claim, a patient must prove that a medical provider committed a mistake or provided treatment that fell below the standard of care that all healthcare providers are legally required to provide to patients. If a provider’s care falls below that standard and the patient is injured as a result, the court may determine that the provider was negligent and hold the provider liable for the patient’s financial damages.

To claim that a health care provider was negligent, the patient must prove four basic elements in the case:

  • The provider had a duty to provide the patient a standard level of care;
  • The provider breached that duty;
  • The provider’s breach caused the patient to suffer injury or harm; and 
  • The patient experienced physical, emotional, or financial damages from that injury or harm. 

The patient then demonstrates the economic value of those damages. If accepted, the court will order the provider to compensate the patient for the damages the patient suffered as a result of the provider’s negligence.

How Prevalent Is Medical Malpractice?

According to a 2016 study published in The BMJ, approximately 250,000 people die every year in the United States as a result of a medical error. Many more are injured, disfigured, or disabled. 

In a 2021 Medscape Malpractice Report, researchers concluded that half of all physicians will be sued for medical malpractice at some point in their medical careers. In the study, 4,358 physicians across 29 practice specialties responded to asurvey about medical malpractice. The survey revealed that in 2019, 62% of specialists and 52% of primary care physicians were sued for medical malpractice.About 14% of those accused of medical malpractice said they were not at all surprised that their patients filed lawsuits against them.

The report also listed the most common practice areas in which physicians were sued by a patient:

  • Plastic surgery83%
  • General surgery83%
  • Orthopedics81%
  • Urology80%
  • OB/GYN 79%
  • Specialized surgery74%
  • Emergency medicine70%
  • Otolaryngology (ear, nose, throat)68%
  • Radiology64%
  • Cardiology58%

Within these areas, the most common errors committed by physicians included:

  • Failure to diagnose / delayed diagnosis31%
  • Complications from treatment / surgery29%
  • Poor outcome / disease progression 26%
  • Failure to treat / delayed treatment16%
  • Wrongful death13%
  • Abnormal injury 11%
  • Poor documentation (instruction/education)4%
  • Errors in medication administration3%
  • Improperly obtaining / lack of informed consent2%
  • Failure to follow safety procedures1%
When Is a Medical Malpractice Claim Appropriate?

Just because a physician is sued does not necessarily mean the physician committed medical malpractice. And being unhappy with your medical outcome does not mean a medical malpractice claim is appropriate. However, if you suspect that you or a loved one suffered harm because a health care provider failed to provide the appropriate treatment or care, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Your lawyer will assess your case and determine what caused your injuries. If your injuries were the result of your doctor’s failure to provide the legal standard of care, then a medical malpractice claim may be the appropriate course of action to take.

How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Plaintiffs have a limited period of time to file a medical malpractice claim. The law that determines this time limit—California Civil Code § 340.5—is called the “statute of limitations.” This law requires a plaintiff to file a medical malpractice claims within one year from the date he or she discovers that they have been injured. If a patient does not discover within a year that they have been injured, then they have three years from the date of the actual injury to file their claim. This time limit may be extended or “tolled” if the plaintiff proves:

  • Fraud; 
  • Intentional concealment; or
  • The presence of a foreign object left inside the plaintiff’s body for no medical or diagnostic reason.

The statute of limitations is slightly different if the patient is a minor child. In that case, the action must be filed within three years from the date the provider committed the negligence. If the minor child is less than six years old, then the claim may be filed within three years or before the child’s eighth birthday, whichever period is longer.

Do I Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney?

If you think you have been injured because your health care provider made an error or did not provide the appropriate medical treatment, you may be entitled to file a medical malpractice claim to be compensated for your injuries. The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Moseley CollinsLaw can assist you. 

If you suffered over $1 million of economic damages, require constant (24/7) care, or your case involved the wrongful death of a loved one, we will make sure you file your claim on time and receive the maximum compensation you deserve. Call us today at 415-888-8888. Even if your case is not appropriate for a medical malpractice claim of this nature, we will make sure we refer you to someone who will provide you with the assistance you need.

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