When you are prescribed medication, you expect that it will help improve your health, not make you worse. Unfortunately, negligent or even careless medical providers who fail to write the proper prescription or mistakenly fill a prescription with the wrong medication can jeopardize patients’ lives.
Medication errors cause injuries across California and the U.S. every day and can be hard to detect. When the truth is revealed and the damage is done, those injured need to know that there is a place to turn for help. Shegerian & Associates has a team of personal injury attorneys skilled in this area of medical malpractice law dealing with medication errors.
Types of Medication Errors
There are a wide variety of medication errors that exist, however, most fall into the following categories:
- Improper dosage
- Incorrect administration method
- Unauthorized drug
- Wrong time
- Omission of a necessary medication
Medication errors can result in:
- Brain injuries
- Heart damage
- Nerve damage
- Organ failure
- Wrongful death
Proving Liability for a Medication Error
Medication errors are preventable accidents and acts of medical malpractice and result from professional negligence. This means that a medical provider or facility had some sort of professional duty to uphold a standard of care, but failed to uphold this duty.
Many health care workers are trained to administer the 5 “rights: when giving medication to patients. These include:
- The right administration time
- The right administration route
- The right patient
- The right dose
- The right medication
Failure in any one of these areas could result in liability for medication errors. There are several reasons why medication errors occur and various parties that may be liable for them:
A doctor is generally the first party who is responsible for issuing and prescribing a medication. This medical provider must assess the patient’s symptoms, medical history, allergies, height, weight, and other prescription medications being taken.
A pharmacist may package the wrong medication or give you the wrong dosage on your prescription label. This could lead a patient to taking the incorrect dosage of medication at home when they read the dosage and instructions on the label.
Nurse or Nurse Practitioner
Nurses are commonly charged with administering medications to those in their care in the hospital or in a surgery setting. Nurses may make mistakes when they miscalculate a dosage for an intravenous medication or make changes to the dose without the doctor’s knowledge.
Damages in Medication Error Claims
If you believe that you or a loved one was injured or killed as the result of a medication error, the first thing that you should do is to contact medication errors lawyers who can review your case for free and evaluate the basis of your claim. This person will act as your legal advocate throughout the duration of your medical malpractice lawsuit.
Proving liability can be difficult, especially when you’re going up against powerful medical providers and facilities who often have teams of defense attorneys ready to ensure that they are not found liable for any harm that results from a medication error. Your attorney will work hard to preserve evidence for your claim and show medical negligence occurred.
Some types of evidence that you and your attorney will need to gather include:
- Your medical history and medical records
- Your doctor’s information, qualifications, and location
- A timeline of what went wrong and how
- The testimony of several expert witnesses
Additionally, each medication error lawsuit is unique. While we cannot tell you exactly how much your case is worth, you may generally be entitled to compensation for:
- Economic damages, which include medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and future medical care
- Non-economic damages, which include the physical pain and emotional suffering you endured as a result of the medical malpractice
- Punitive damages, which are awarded to punish the defendant in cases of egregious negligence and to deter future acts by similar parties
Getting the Legal Help You Need
When you suspect that a medication error is the cause of a debilitating condition, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor or healthcare provider. It may also be wise to seek legal representation. Doing so as early on in the development of a case could prove essential as there are strict time limits for filing medication error suits.
Contact Shegerian & Associates today for a detailed discussion and analysis of your case with our medication errors attorney. Let us help you get the justice you deserve for your medication error issue.