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Oklahoma Medical Negligence: Statutes of Limitations and Caps on Damages
When a medical care provider acts in a way, either through action or inaction, that causes harm to the patient, medical malpractice has occurred. Malpractice can occur by any medical professional and at any point of the treatment plan. Malpractice does not occur if the results of a standard treatment plan does not produce the desired results of the patient.
To qualify as a medical malpractice case, the case must meet the following four conditions:
• Deviation From The Standard Of Care. The care provided to the patient must be different than the acceptable standard of care for the treatment of a condition within the medical industry.
• The Negligence Caused An Injury. Malpractice requires that an injury occurs from the action or inaction of the medical care provider directly to the patient.
• Injury Caused Significant Damages. The patient must have suffered damages as a result of the injury. This includes pain and suffering, new medical conditions that are a result of the injury, loss of income and financial hardships, disability or disfigurement and ongoing medical bills.
• The Statute Of Limitations Was Still In Effect. Under the Oklahoma statute of limitation law, a person injured by a medical care provider has two years from the date of injury to seek damages.
Understanding The Statute Of Limitations in Oklahoma
The Statute of Limitations is a set of laws that limits the amount of time a person or the legal system has to pursue a case. These limitations apply to both civil and criminal law cases. These laws are in place to protect all parties in a legal case.
Evidence and personal testimonies are very important parts of any legal case. Over time, people forget details, move or pass away, and evidence can be misplaced or forgotten. To protect all members of a case, the court system has limited most cases to being filed within two years of an event taking place for civil cases. Criminal cases have different limitations.
For medical negligence, the Oklahoma statute of limitations states that the case must be filed within two years of the event that caused them harm. The court feels that any time after this amount would lead to unfair rulings for either party.
To avoid being denied filing a case for malpractice because you missed the deadline for Medical Malpractice filings, speak with an OKC medical negligence lawyer about your case as soon as possible after the event occurred.
Understanding Caps On Damages
When you seek damages against a medical professional for an injury you received, you will be able to sue for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include the following:
• Loss of current and future wages
• Loss of current and future retirement benefits
• Loss of current and future benefits
• Medical bills that are a result of the injury
• Future care medical bills from the injury
• Other costs related to the injury such as paying for services that you can no longer perform and mileage to treatment facilities for your medical care
Non-economic damages include the following:
• Pain and suffering
• Loss of consortium, society, and comfort
• Mental anguish
Under Oklahoma law, non-economic damages are capped at $350,000 per claim. The only exceptions to this rule are if any of the following occurred:
• Injury was a result of intent or malice towards the patient
• Injury was a direct result of a reckless disregard for the patient and their well-being
• Injury was a result of gross negligence
• Injury was a result of fraud
Oklahoma also has a Comparable Negligence law in effect. This means if the victim is more than 50 percent responsible for the injury they received they are not entitled to any forms of compensation under Oklahoma law.
What To Do If You Believe That You Are A Victim Of Malpractice
If you believe that you are a victim of medical negligence you must act quickly to protect your rights, You are encouraged to use the following tips so that you can get the care you need and seek the damages you are entitled to under Oklahoma law.
1. Seek Immediate Medical Care. Seek care for the injury. Stabilizing your health is always the most important thing to do.
2. Contact An OKC Medical Negligence Lawyer. You will want to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the negligence has occurred so that they can protect your rights as a victim.
3. Document Everything. As soon as you are able, write everything down about the medical condition you have, the injury, the treatment for the injury and how the injury has impacted your life physically, mentally and financially.
4. Go To All Your Doctor Appointments. It is very important that you follow through with all of your medical care for the injury. Failing to do so may make it appear as if you have fully recovered from the event.
5. Work Closely With Your Lawyer. Your attorney will provide you with valuable advice and recommendations. Work closely with your attorney for the best results.
Avoid Social Media Posts About Your Injury
It is very important that you limit your social media activity while you are seeking damages for a medical negligence case. Anything and everything that you post online during this period will be monitored by the insurance company for the medical care provider being sued.
Anything about your injury, your recovery, your medical visits, or what you and your lawyer talked about should not be posted online. You should avoid posting pictures f yourself now or from the past until the case is over. Old pictures that show you laughing or dancing, or otherwise having a great time will be seen as if you are doing those activities now.
You should limit all posts to your social media if possible. That is the safest choice. If you feel that you must post on social media during this time, keep the information very limited about yourself and your activities and never mention your injury or case. Speak with your attorney about the best way to handle this situation during your case.