St. Louis Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Dixon’s Professional Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serve St. Louis

St. Louis Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical Malpractice in St. Louis, MO. When we are injured or ill, we trust physicians, nurses, and other members of the hospital’s medical staff with our well-being, our health, and our very lives, and most often these professionals strive to provide quality care.

Chris Dixon

Founder and Managing Attorney

I pride myself on tirelessly fighting for the injury victims who continuously trust me with their cases. It is an honor to serve and a passion which drives my existence.

Dixon provides a wide range of legal services in Missouri and Illinois. This includes personal injury, workers compensation, product liability, and other claims. Our St. Louis medical malpractice attorneys bring professional legal counsel to clients and their families. Please contact us for more information and to schedule a free consultation from our medical malpractice lawyers.

$50 Million Recovered

Chris has recovered over $50 million for his injured clients, and can assist you with your injury claims. To get started on your personal injury case, contact our St. Louis injury attorneys today!

Free Legal Consultation

Call or email the Personal Injury Attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule your free injury claim consultation with Chris. Our experienced lawyers make the difference.

Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri?

Unfortunately, though, some patients will receive care from a medically negligent healthcare provider. This includes things like physicians who provide medical care while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, who fail to follow protocol, who operate on the wrong body part, or perform the wrong procedure.

When medical negligence occurs, the patient and his or her family may wonder who will cover their medical expenses and how the income that is lost as a result of a permanent disability or death will be replaced.

If you have been hurt as a result of medical negligence and have been searching for “medical malpractice lawyers near me,” then contact Christoper Dixon, an experienced St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation.

Christopher Dixon has helped thousands of injury victims fight for the reimbursement of their harms and losses. Chris is recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and provides aggressive legal representation for the injured. He is a knowledgeable legal malpractice attorney, in St Louis, MO.

The Dixon Law firm is far more than just a St. Louis law firm. While lawyers ethically cannot hold themselves out as being the best medical malpractice attorneys in St, Louis, Missouri, the best medical malpractice lawyers in St Charles, MO, or the best medical malpractice lawyers in Kansas City, our lawyers strive to obtain the highest compensation for malpractice victims.

The Difference Between Malpractice and Negligence

Although there are some significant differences between malpractice and negligence, the most distinctive one is what the law calls “intent”. In legal terms, intent means the prosecution has to prove that the accused person meant to act in a way he knows that’s prohibited by law.

Medical negligence causes unintentional harm to a patient. It’s a mistake, but is often the result of a pattern of harm.
Meanwhile, medical malpractice is when a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, does not provide proper care despite knowing the standard of care necessary for the medical procedure.

It’s not a mistake. It’s a blatant disregard for the proper procedures.

How to prove medical negligence or medical malpractice will be based on evidence gathered about the case, such as witness reports about what was said or done at the time the patient underwent the medical procedure

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Types of Medical Malpractice

Today’s hospital system places profits ahead of people in many instances. Good doctors are forced to see large numbers of patients to increase the hospital system’s bottom line. This factory-like system causes unnecessary errors.

In 1999, a now-famous report released by the Institute of Medicine revealed that as many as 98,000 hospital patients were dying each year as a result of medical errors.

Some of the most common categories of medical malpractice lawsuits are:

  • Wrong diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Medication errors
  • Surgical errors
  • Injuries sustained during pregnancy delivery

To be held liable for the injuries, a physician, nurse, or hospital staffer must be found to have deviated from the standard of care provided by those with similar training and experience. They may, for example, have failed to provide proper medical treatment because they skipped over some essential steps necessary for the medical procedure.

Most Common Reasons for a Malpractice Lawsuit

Common medical malpractice claims often cover the same medical mistakes.

Here are some of the most frequent reasons for medical malpractice:

  • The medical provider fails to diagnose the patient’s illness accurately and the patient gets unsuitable medical treatment.
  • A patient is injured during the course of the treatment and this causes a permanent disability or death. In a birth injury, for example, a newborn could have a damaged nerve or a broken bone or die because the medical staff mishandled the delivery.
  • A patient receives incorrect medication or the wrong amount of medication.
  • A hospital or clinic keeps poor documentation on the patient’s health condition.

Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

You have a medical malpractice case if there was an established doctor-patient relationship and your doctor misdiagnoses your health problem, provides insufficient treatment, or fails to warn you about known risks of the recommended medical procedure. Because of this negligence, you sustained an injury that damaged your health.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Missouri

The time allowed under Missouri law to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is limited. Generally, a medical malpractice case must be filed within two years of the date of occurrence.

If the medical negligence claim involves a foreign object that was left in the body, the suit must be filed within two years of when the object was discovered.

If a loved one dies as a result of medical malpractice, Missouri law requires that the wrongful death lawsuit be filed within three years of death.

Within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Missouri, the plaintiff must file an expert affidavit stating that a written opinion has been obtained from a legally qualified healthcare provider regarding the defendant’s negligence. The expert must conclude that the defendant failed to use such care as a reasonably prudent and careful healthcare provider would have under similar circumstances and that such failure to use such reasonable care directly caused or directly contributed to the damages claimed in the petition (RSMo. Section 538.225 [2009]).

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Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), what makes a malpractice case is that four legal elements have to be proven in court to show that a medical doctor was negligent in providing proper care: “(1) a professional duty owed to the patient; (2) breach of such duty; (3) injury caused by the breach; and (4) resulting damages.” These four elements must be in place for Missouri medical malpractice cases to be successful.

Is Medical Malpractice Difficult to Prove?

How difficult is it to prove medical negligence? Medical malpractice is difficult to prove if there isn’t “a preponderance of evidence” to convince a jury. But an attorney can win the case if they can establish that the doctor had a formal relationship with the patient and failed to provide necessary medical services.

Medical experts may be called into court to testify that the physician’s negligence caused the patient sufficient injury to seriously damage their health. Since the medical professional bears no burden of proof, it is necessary to clearly prove to a jury that they acted in an unreasonable way.

How Long Does a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Take?

It’s reasonable for a patient who has been victimized by malpractice and now suffers injuries to wonder how long their malpractice lawsuit will take. Unfortunately, an urgent need to recover from the burden of lost income and high medical bills does not influence legal consideration on how long it will take for their malpractice case to go to court or settle out of court.

Instead, what determines the duration of the case will depend on its complexity and the schedule of the court to hear the case. Despite these constraints, an attorney will work to secure compensation as quickly as possible while making sure their client gets the money they deserve for their financial hardships and physical suffering.

The Odds of Winning a Medical Malpractice Suit

When advising a client on how to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, an attorney has to carefully weigh the strength of the evidence of the case. According to statistics researched by Philip G. Peters, JD, the author of an NCBI article, Twenty Years of Evidence on the Outcomes of Malpractice Claims, “Physicians win 80% to 90% of the jury trials with weak evidence of medical negligence, approximately 70% of the borderline cases, and even 50% of the trials in cases with strong evidence of medical negligence.”

Statistically, then, medical malpractice cases won depend on the “preponderance of evidence” provided by the patient’s attorney to the jury.

The Average Payout for Medical Malpractice

According to the 2019 Medical Malpractice Payout Report, medical malpractice lawsuit settlements are calculated based on state-by-state breakdowns, and these can vary widely by state. For instance, in 2018, the highest average payouts were in New York and Pennsylvania.

New York paid out an average of $446,461 while Pennsylvania paid out an average of $405,978. Overall, the average malpractice payment for all states in 2018 is estimated to have been about $348,065.

Common Examples of Medical Malpractice

Perhaps the most common type of medical malpractice claim is a missed diagnosis. More specifically, delays in the diagnosis of breast cancer have historically cost insurers more than any other type of claim.

Postmenopausal women come in for breast exams with great frequency, and for various reasons, doctors often miss the diagnosis. Doctors tend to see a huge number of exams, and most of the exams do not lead to cancer.

So it seems that too often some doctors will err on the side of not diagnosing cancer, and the lost opportunity of an early diagnosis can greatly harm a breast cancer victim’s ability to survive the disease.

Surgery is another place where a lot of malpractice happens. Obviously, any time a patient goes in for surgery there is a risk. Something must be wrong or else surgery would not be happening, and when you cut into somebody there is a chance something else will go wrong.

Having a bad surgical outcome is not necessarily malpractice. There are, however, a shocking number of mistakes that can never be excused. So-called “wrong-site surgeries” are one of the worst.

This is when a hospital has some kind of mixup and the surgeon operates on the wrong body part, like the left hand instead of the right. Evidence suggests that one in five hand surgeons will make this mistake at some point in their career.

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Call or email the Personal Injury Attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule your free injury claim consultation with Chris. Our experienced lawyers make the difference.

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Surgical Errors by Doctors

A patient undergoing surgery must trust that the surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurses, and other medical professionals will carry out the procedure with the appropriate care. Unfortunately, this trust is sometimes misplaced: Preventable surgical errors in the operating room do occur.

According to one recent study, surgeons operate on the wrong part of the patient’s body at least 40 times a week in the United States.

Experts cite several causes for surgical errors:

  • Mixing up the right side and left sides of the body
  • Operating on a patient who was accidentally given another patient’s test results
  • Marking the wrong vertebrae for spinal surgery
  • Failing to mark the surgical site altogether
  • Increased time pressures
  • Failure of surgeons to follow checklists

It is well known that surgeons typically value their autonomy. As a result, they resist working in teams and following checklist protocols.

Moreover, many surgeons underestimate their capacity for error; therefore increasing the incidence of medical malpractice. However, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons warns that an orthopedist has a 25% chance of making a wrong-site error during his or her career.

Misdiagnosis by Doctor or Health Care Professional

When you’re sick, the first step toward getting better is figuring out what’s wrong. When a doctor misdiagnoses an illness, a patient not only loses the opportunity to heal quickly but also runs the risk of complications and even death.

After all, the best treatment regimen in the world is not going to help if it is the wrong treatment.

Incident of Misdiagnosis

In one study conducted by the Institute of Medicine, incorrect diagnoses accounted for 17% of medical errors – and in a survey performed by the National Patient Safety Foundation, 40% of respondents believed that their illnesses had been misdiagnosed.

Under the law, physicians and other healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. This means that the professional must act in a reasonable manner consistent with that of a medical professional of the same training who receives the same information about the patient.

A doctor who acts unreasonably on the basis of the information provided may be sued for medical malpractice.

What Is Considered a Wrong Diagnosis?

Misdiagnoses involve a variety of scenarios:

  • Diagnosing a disease or disorder in a healthy person. This error may result in unnecessary or even harmful treatment.
  • Failing to diagnose a disease or disorder in someone who is sick. In some instances individuals with cancer have been told that they’re healthy, allowing the disease to advance untreated and unchecked until it’s at an advanced stage.
  • Diagnosing the wrong disease in someone who is sick. A classic example is a woman experiencing a heart attack who is told that she is simply suffering from heartburn or indigestion.

What Are Some of the Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Diseases?

Several medical conditions are often missed or misdiagnosed:

  • Appendicitis
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Breast cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pulmonary embolism

How Can You Protect Yourself From an Incorrect Diagnosis?

Patients rely on the expertise of their physicians, but even without a medical background patients can take certain measures to protect themselves from a misdiagnosis.

  • Ask Questions. Once a doctor provides a diagnosis, ask what other diseases are possible in light of your symptoms. This will allow you to conduct additional research after an appointment.
  • Get a Second Opinion. This is important if you have been told that you are healthy but still feel there is something wrong or if you have received a diagnosis that will involve extensive treatment.
  • See a Specialist. If a general practitioner provides a diagnosis, you may want to seek a second opinion from a specialist who is better able to determine whether your symptoms match the diagnosis. A specialist can also provide additional information on your treatment options.

Free Legal Consultation

Call or email the Personal Injury Attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule your free injury claim consultation with Chris. Our experienced lawyers make the difference.

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St. Louis, MO, Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Medical malpractice is also common in childbirth. For starters, there are a lot of births in America. Most women will have a child at some point in their lives, and many babies are hurt during childbirth.

There is obviously a high risk of injury to a newborn because babies are very fragile and birth is a traumatic event.

Doctors also often have to make painful but life-saving decisions in order to protect the baby’s overall health. For example, doctors sometimes have to use scary instruments like forceps to pull a baby through the birth canal.

That can injure the baby but still be the medically correct thing to do. On the other hand, it is probably malpractice for a doctor to yank a baby out so hard as to cause nerve damage just because that doctor has a busy schedule and needs to get to the next patient.

The bottom line is that a medical professional must meet the proper standard of care, which just means a doctor must show the skill and care that an average doctor would in the same situation. Doctors do not have to be perfect, but they cannot be incompetent.

Even if a doctor is incompetent, he or she will usually only be held liable if that incompetence caused some harm. A missed diagnosis of breast cancer may not actually cause an injury if another doctor catches it soon afterward, for example.

In 2004, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations issued rules meant to reduce such surgical errors as:

  • Amputating the wrong body part
  • Performing the wrong procedure
  • Operating on the wrong patient

Despite the increased awareness of surgical errors and these efforts to reduce their incidence, the rate of wrong-site surgeries has increased, according to a story published jointly by the Washington Post and Kaiser Health News.

How a St. Louis Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help

Personal injury attorneys with years of experience handling medical malpractice cases can provide you with legal advice on your case. If their legal team determines that your medical records, witness statements, and other types of evidence suggest that you have a strong case, then they will work to ensure that the physician or hospital be held fully liable for the damaging personal injuries you sustained because of their negligence.

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyers – Contact Us for a Free Consultation Today

Christopher R. Dixon and the Dixon Injury Firm excel at medical malpractice cases and additional personal and workplace injuries. Recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, Chris is often hired by Saint Louis, MO, medical malpractice victims to help win their case.

Because he understands how difficult these types of cases are for families, the Dixon Injury Firm makes it easier by offering a contingency payment system to help alleviate financial stress. Working with pay when you win lawyers allows you to pay only if the case is won. Dixon’s legal counsel is free if he is not successful with the case.

Compensation available in medical malpractice lawsuits is often divided into compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages typically cover such items as past and future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Punitive damages are awarded in cases in which the defendant’s conduct is considered willful, wanton, or malicious.
Our St. Louis medical malpractice lawyers offer free consultations to all injury victims and the families of those wrongfully killed.

To discuss your case, contact Chris Dixon as soon as possible to prevent evidence from being lost or destroyed. Our personal injury lawyers are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 314-409-7060, or Toll-Free at 855-402-7274.

Free Legal Consultation

Call or email the Personal Injury Attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule your free injury claim consultation with Chris. Our experienced lawyers make the difference.

Get Started

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Meet Christopher R. Dixon

Legal & Injury Representation St. Louis Deserves.

Results — that's what clients expect from Dixon Injury Firm. Chris brings years of personal injury law experience to the table. Based in St. Louis, his firm provides free consultations and contingency service to the high-caliber injury and liability legal arena. Tell us about your case and we'll show you how to win.

Recent Successes

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    Missouri Truck Accident

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    Missouri Pedestrian Accident

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Reach out to Chris Dixon for personal injury, workers compensation, product liability, and other legal services for experienced, reliable counsel and representation in St. Louis.

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