Maine Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Medical malpractice involves a healthcare professional’s careless or improper actions, leading to a patient’s harm, sickness, long-term disability or fatality. Navigating medical malpractice cases in Maine is complex and demanding, and it is essential for those affected to understand their distinct rights and legal avenues.
When faced with legal challenges, the guidance and support of experienced medical malpractice lawyers from Berman & Simmons can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of the law and achieving the best possible outcome for your case. Our attorneys possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to provide crucial advice and representation throughout various stages of the legal process, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected. In fact, no other law firm in Maine can match our depth of talent, expertise, and financial resources to win your case.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider, such as a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, fails to provide the appropriate standard of care, resulting in harm to a patient. This failure can be due to negligence, avoidable errors, oversights, omissions, or a breach of professional duty leading to serious consequences. In a medical malpractice case, the patient, or plaintiff, must prove that the healthcare provider’s actions or inactions directly led to their injury,illness or continued health complications and that they suffered damages.
Medical Malpractice Victims’ Rights in Maine
In Maine, individuals affected by medical malpractice possess specific legal entitlements, including the ability to initiate legal action to pursue compensation for the damages they have sustained, following specific statutes of limitations. In Maine, most medical malpractice claims must be filed within three years of the negligent act. If the malpractice included a series of negligent acts, that three years begins on the date of the last negligent act if the negligent treatment was with the same provider. This is the general rule and there are exceptions with shorter time limitations.
Another crucial right granted to victims of medical malpractice in Maine is the ability to acquire copies of their medical records. These records can be pivotal evidence when building a robust medical malpractice case. Per Maine regulations, healthcare providers must maintain precise and comprehensive medical records and furnish patients with copies of their documentation upon request. By ensuring that individuals have access to their medical information, the law empowers victims with the necessary resources to assert their rights and seek justice in medical malpractice cases.
Proving Negligence in Maine Medical Malpractice Cases
To succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maine, a lawyer, representing their injured client, must prove the presence of four essential elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Each component establishes the healthcare provider’s liability for the patient’s injury or illness.
Duty of Care
The first element involves demonstrating that the healthcare provider has a duty of care towards the patient. This duty arises from the professional relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider, which obligates the latter to adhere to a specific standard of care. This standard is generally based on the practices and knowledge that a reasonably competent healthcare professional in the same field would exercise under similar circumstances.
Breach of Duty
Once the duty of care has been established, the lawyer must prove that the healthcare provider acted negligently or failed to act when necessary. This can include errors in diagnosis, improper treatment, or a failure to obtain informed consent from the patient, among other medical malpractice examples.
The third element, causation, requires the lawyer to demonstrate the healthcare provider’s breach of duty or dangerous conduct was a cause of the resulting injury or illness. In other words, the lawyer must show that the patient’s harm would not have occurred if the healthcare provider had not been negligent. This can be particularly challenging to prove, as it often necessitates the testimony of medical experts to establish the causal connection.
Lastly, the lawyer must establish that they incurred damages due to the healthcare provider’s negligence. Damages can include economic and non-economic losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The lawyer must provide evidence of these damages to substantiate their claim and justify the compensation they are seeking.
A successful medical malpractice case in Maine necessitates fulfilling these four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. By proving these components, the lawyer can establish the healthcare provider’s liability and seek compensation for the harm they have endured.
Maine Medical Malpractice Insurance Coverage
In Maine, healthcare providers are mandated to maintain malpractice insurance to cover potential damages that may arise from a medical malpractice claim. The extent of coverage required depends on the healthcare provider category and can vary significantly, with minimum amounts ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. This insurance aims to ensure that healthcare providers can adequately compensate victims in the event of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Varying Coverage Requirements
The malpractice insurance coverage requirements differ depending on the type of healthcare provider. For instance, physicians, surgeons, and other high-risk specialties may be required to carry higher levels of coverage, while providers in less risky fields might have lower minimum coverage requirements. This variation is designed to reflect the differing levels of risk associated with various medical practices.
Insurance Limitations and Insufficient Coverage
Despite the mandatory insurance requirements, there may be instances where the coverage provided by a healthcare provider’s malpractice insurance is inadequate to compensate the victim for the damages they have suffered. In such cases, the victim may face challenges in recovering the total amount of compensation they are entitled to.
Factors contributing to insufficient coverage can include:
- Policy limits: The healthcare provider’s malpractice insurance policy may have a maximum limit on the payout amount, which might be lower than the damages awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Multiple claims: In situations where multiple claims have been filed against a single healthcare provider, the available coverage may be spread thin, reducing the compensation that each victim can obtain.
- Insurance exclusions: Certain circumstances or types of claims may not be covered under the healthcare provider’s malpractice insurance policy, leading to potential gaps in coverage.
In light of these potential limitations, victims of medical malpractice in Maine must consult with an experienced attorney who can navigate the complexities of insurance coverage and explore alternative avenues for compensation if needed. By doing so, victims can maximize their chances of receiving the full amount of damages to which they are entitled.
Gathering Evidence for Medical Malpractice Cases
To build a strong case in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the lawyer must present convincing evidence to substantiate their claim. This evidence should clearly demonstrate the healthcare provider’s negligence and the extent of the plaintiff’s damages. Evidence, including medical records, expert testimony, and other relevant materials, may support the plaintiff’s case.
Medical records are critical in medical malpractice cases, as they provide a comprehensive account of the patient’s medical history, diagnoses, treatments, and healthcare-provider interactions. These records can be used to establish the standard of care that should have been provided and to identify any deviations from that standard. Furthermore, medical records can help to demonstrate the causal link between the healthcare provider’s negligence and the patient’s injury or illness.
Expert testimony is often necessary to support a medical malpractice claim. It can provide valuable insight into the healthcare provider’s actions or omissions and whether they fell below the expected standard of care. Medical experts with knowledge in the relevant field can explain complex medical issues to the judge or jury, helping them understand the nuances of the case. Additionally, these experts can help establish the causal relationship between negligence and the damages suffered by the plaintiff.
Additional Relevant Evidence
Besides medical records and expert testimony, other relevant evidence may be used to bolster a medical malpractice claim. This can include:
- Witness statements: Testimonies from other patients, healthcare providers, or staff members who have firsthand knowledge of the incident can provide valuable context and support the plaintiff’s allegations.
- Documentation of damages: Records of financial losses and other damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and proof of ongoing medical care, can help establish the extent of the plaintiff’s damages.
- Photographic or video evidence: In some cases, visual documentation of the patient’s injuries or the healthcare provider’s actions may be available, providing compelling evidence to support the plaintiff’s case.
Collecting and presenting comprehensive and persuasive evidence is crucial for the success of a medical malpractice lawsuit. An experienced attorney can help gather the necessary materials, engage qualified experts, and effectively present the evidence to the court, maximizing the plaintiff’s chances of obtaining the compensation they deserve.
Ways a Lawyer Can Assist
Medical malpractice cases are often complicated, involving a multitude of medical and legal intricacies. Engaging the services of a proficient medical malpractice lawyer is essential for victims of medical malpractice, as they can provide invaluable assistance in navigating these complexities and pursuing just compensation for damages. Medical malpractice attorneys possess the necessary expertise and resources to handle such cases, including conducting comprehensive investigations, collecting evidence, collaborating with medical experts, and negotiating with insurance companies.
In-Depth Investigations and Evidence Gathering
A medical malpractice attorney will initiate a detailed investigation into the victim’s case to uncover all relevant facts and identify any instances of negligence. This process includes obtaining and analyzing medical records, identifying potential witnesses, and collecting other pertinent evidence supporting the victim’s claim. The Maine medical practice lawyer’s experience in handling similar cases enables them to recognize crucial details that may be overlooked by someone unfamiliar with the medical and legal intricacies involved.
Collaboration with Medical Experts
To build a robust case, a Maine medical malpractice attorney often works closely with medical experts with specialized knowledge in the relevant field. These experts can provide crucial insights into the healthcare provider’s actions, help establish the appropriate standard of care, and determine whether the provider’s conduct deviated from that standard. Furthermore, they can assist in demonstrating the causal link between the negligence and the damages sustained by the victim.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Maine medical malpractice lawyers are well-versed in negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of their clients. They can effectively navigate the complexities of insurance coverage and work to ensure that the victim receives fair compensation for their damages. This may involve negotiating settlements, contesting denied claims, or even pursuing litigation if necessary. By leveraging their expertise and experience, Maine medical malpractice attorneys can protect their clients’ interests and help them achieve the best possible outcome.
Legal Representation and Advocacy
A medical malpractice lawyer is the victim’s legal advocate throughout the process. They provide guidance and advice, informing clients of their rights and legal options at each case stage. If a trial becomes necessary, the lawyer will skillfully represent the victim in court, presenting a persuasive argument and effectively challenging any opposing evidence or testimony.
Medical malpractice cases are often challenging and demand extensive knowledge of both medical and legal domains. By enlisting the support of a competent medical malpractice lawyer, victims can significantly improve their chances of obtaining fair compensation for their damages and achieving justice for the harm they have suffered.
Questions to Ask an Attorney During an Initial Consultation
If you are contemplating initiating a medical malpractice claim in Maine, consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is crucial. During your initial consultation, gathering as much information as possible to determine if the attorney is the right fit for your case is essential. The following questions can help you gain insight into the attorney’s background, expertise, and approach to handling medical malpractice cases:
What is your experience with medical malpractice cases?
Inquire about the attorney’s specific experience in handling medical malpractice cases, including the types of cases they have dealt with and the duration of their practice in this area of law. This will help you understand their familiarity with the complexities involved in such cases and their ability to navigate them effectively.
What is your success rate in these cases?
Ask the attorney about their track record in medical malpractice cases, including the number of cases they have won, settled, or lost. This can give you an idea of their competence and potential to achieve a favorable outcome in your case.
Will you be handling my case personally or assigning it to another attorney?
It is important to know whether the attorney you are consulting with will be personally managing your case or delegating it to another attorney within their firm. If the latter, inquire about the qualifications and experience of the attorney handling your case.
What fees do you charge, and how are they calculated?
Discuss the attorney’s fee structure, including any contingency fees, hourly rates, or flat fees that may be applicable. Understand how the fees will be calculated and whether additional costs, such as court or expert witness fees, might arise during your case.
Do you offer a free initial consultation?
Determine if the attorney provides a complimentary initial consultation, during which you can discuss your case, evaluate their expertise, and decide whether to retain their services. This can be an excellent opportunity to assess your comfort level with the attorney and their approach to handling your case.
By asking these essential questions during your initial consultation with a medical malpractice attorney, you can better understand their qualifications, experience, and commitment to your case. This information can help you decide whether to entrust your case to the attorney and ensure that you receive the best possible legal representation in your pursuit of justice.
Contact Berman & Simmons for Maine Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The assistance of proficient medical malpractice lawyers from Berman & Simmons can make a significant difference in the outcome of your legal case. An attorney can help you navigate the legal system and achieve a favorable resolution by providing advice, conducting comprehensive investigations, and skillfully representing your interests in court if needed. Contact us today to learn how we can help you win your case.
Answers, assistance, and compensation for victims of medical malpractice throughout New England
In Maine and throughout New England, the Berman & Simmons’ medical malpractice lawyers help victims of medical negligence and their families get the answers and compensation they deserve.
We know how hard it can be when you realize that your suffering was caused by a doctor, nurse, or another healthcare professional who failed to do their job properly. Medical mistakes can include:
- Your doctor failing to correctly identify, test for, or diagnose your condition, allowing a serious illness to go untreated for a long time.
- Your doctor recommending the wrong course of treatment or prescribing medication that does more harm than good.
- Doctors and staff missing the warning signs of a difficult or risky labor and delivery, failing to take the actions necessary to prevent serious birth injuries or harm to the mother.
- Your doctor making errors with anesthesia and surgical techniques or failing to take steps necessary to minimize the chances of severe and potentially fatal infections.
- The staff at a nursing home or assisted living facility neglecting or abusing vulnerable seniors, leaving them with severe physical, emotional, and psychological injuries that may never heal.
The best lawyers, the most resources, and over $1.35 billion for our clients
Berman & Simmons’ lawyers are widely recognized as the best personal injury lawyers in Maine. But for us, that is not enough. With our unique resources and talent, we strive to be among the best in the country.
We have obtained several of the largest medical malpractice jury verdicts and settlements in Maine; a record built on experience, knowledge, and determined advocacy. But understanding complex medical issues and proving fault in these cases require much more than mastery of the law. We have access to the world’s leading and most highly credentialed medical experts whose analysis and testimony are often pivotal in our efforts to obtain full compensation for our clients. Those efforts have resulted in the recovery of over $1.35 billion for our personal injury clients.
A law firm focused on your well-being
Medical malpractice changes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. But abstract statistics mean little when you are focused on the immediate challenges you and your family face. At Berman & Simmons, we want to relieve you of these burdens so you can devote your time and energy to recovering.
When you speak with us at your free initial consultation, we will carefully and patiently listen to your story as part of our comprehensive effort to understand what happened. We will then bring our extensive experience and unmatched resources to bear on your behalf, developing solutions that can make your life better, including obtaining payment for or deferral of your debts until we resolve your case.
We are ready to help you today. Call us for your free consultation.
Maine has strict statutes of limitations for filing medical malpractice complaints, so it’s critical to consult with us as soon as possible if you think you or a loved one may be a victim of a medical error.
Please contact Berman & Simmons today at (207)784-3576 to arrange for your free consultation. You pay nothing unless we obtain compensation for you by settlement or jury verdict. Our Maine medical malpractice attorneys are ready to help you through this difficult time so you can recover and rebuild your life.
Our lawyers and staff members take the time to listen to you, understand your concerns, and come up with solutions that can make your life better, including obtaining payment for or deferral of your debts until your case is resolved.
Attorney Jodi Nofsinger Discusses a Recent Medical Malpractice Case
We routinely represent injured patients in all varieties of medical malpractice, including:
Birth injuries, brain damage, obstetrical malpractice, maternal death
Surgical errors, neurosurgical mistakes, bariatric and weight loss surgery
Laboratory errors involving testing and tissue samples
Paralysis due to mismanagement of
Catastrophic injuries in a head-on car accident
Wrongful death case involving negligent
Plaintiff Rear Ended by
Delay in diagnosis and treatment of cancer
Significant Head Injury Car Accident
Medical Malpractice FAQs
How do I choose a medical malpractice lawyer in Maine?
There are several factors to consider when hiring a medical malpractice lawyer. First, make sure you choose a lawyer and firm with a proven record of success in cases like yours. Second, trust your instincts. You need to have a high level of comfort and trust with the person you choose to represent you, and his or her staff.
Many lawyers claim to handle medical malpractice cases, but in fact, do not have expertise in this complex area of the law. Remember that the choice is up to you. You don’t have to hire the first (or even second or third) lawyer you interview.
What types of questions should I ask a medical malpractice lawyer before I hire them?
When you’re considering hiring a medical malpractice lawyer to represent you, here are a few questions you should ask:
- Have you had success representing clients in cases similar to mine?
- Does your firm have the financial resources to take on my case?
- If necessary, are you prepared to take my case to trial?
- What are some of the results you have obtained?
What is the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maine?
In general, you have three years from the act of negligence causing your injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maine. However, there are a number of special circumstances that can shorten or extend that timeframe. The only way to know for sure is to speak with an experienced medical malpracitce lawyer as soon as possible.
How do you determine if I have a valid medical malpractice case?
We first need to determine whether or not you have a valid medical malpractice claim by proving that the medical provider failed to comply with accepted standards of practice in diagnosing or treating your condition, injury, or disease. We will also need to prove that this failure resulted in harm to you. This process involves an initial consultation with you, review of your medical records, research about your condition, including details about your medical history and treatments, and follow-up conversations with you.
What are some of the steps involved in a medical malpractice case?
After determining you have a valid medical malpractice claim, we’ll file a Notice of Claim, proceed with the discovery period and pre-litigation panel hearing required for all medical malpractice cases and, when warranted, file a lawsuit.
What is a Pre-litigation Screening Panel in a medical malpractice case?
Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in court, we are required by Maine law to first present the case to a pre-litigation screening panel appointed by the superior court. The panel is made up of three panelists, including a representative of the healthcare industry; neither a judge nor a jury participates. The panel proceedings are confidential, but the opinions of the panelists can significantly influence the outcome of the case.
Will I need to speak with the doctor or healthcare practitioner I’m considering suing?
Absolutely not. You will not have to confront your doctor, healthcare provider or medical facility. We will take on that responsibility for you.
What types of damages could I recover in a medical malpractice claim?
Here are some brief definitions of the most common types of damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit:
- Economic damages include damages that can be calculated or fairly estimated, such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earnings potential. Expert witnesses can testify about how the injury impacted the person’s ability to earn a living in the future. These type of damages are sometimes referred to as “out of pocket” expenses.
- Non-economic damages compensate victims for losses that are much harder to assign a specific dollar amount. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotinal distress, the loss of companionship from a loved one, or permanent loss of function or permanent disfigurement are all types of non-economic damages.
I’m nervous about filing a medical malpractice claim.
This is especially true for people who have never needed to consult with a lawyer or worry about wasting their valuable time. We talk to people every day who are facing the most difficult challenges of their lives and don’t know what to expect next. We handle a roller coaster of emotions and will help you through the entire process, from finding solutions to your immediate needs to helping you manage your ongoing medical care.
I really like my doctor and I’ve seen him for years. How could I sue him?
There’s often feelings of guilt in taking legal action against another individual or an organization. We understand that. But there are other factors that must be considered. When doctors are negligent and someone is hurt or killed, they must be held accountable. This helps make sure healthcare companies put safety first. Our civil justice system is designed to provide you with fair compensation if you are harmed by the negligence of others.