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Medication Mistakes and Medical Malpractice St. Louis Area


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9/25/2015
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St. Louis Personal Injury Law: Medication Mistakes and Improper Prescriptions Medical Malpractice

 

Medication errors, whether caused by doctors, nurses or pharmacists, result in over 1.3 million injuries and several hundred deaths every year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In court (or at the settlement table), claims arising from these types of harms are treated as standard medical malpractice claims. St. Louis, medical malpractice cases are governed by Missouri personal injury law. If you suspect that you have been harmed by a medication mistake or an improper prescription, it is imperative that you contact an experienced St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

 

Causes

 

A great variety of mistakes are possible during the medication/prescription process. Some of the most common mistakes include:

 
  • The doctor prescribes the wrong medicine due to confusingly similar drug names.
     

  • The pharmacist dispenses the wrong medication due to mislabeling of the medication’s packaging or sloppy doctor handwriting.
     

  • Workplace distractions, shift changes or heavy workloads result in mental oversights or communication failures.
     

  • The wrong dosage is prescribed or administered due to mathematical calculation errors.
     

  • Confusing usage directions on the packaging of the medication cause the patient to inadvertently misuse it.

 

The degree of harm caused by these errors varies widely—some medication errors result in no discernable harm, while others result in the death of the patient (often preceded by great suffering as well).  

 

Personal Injury vs. Wrongful Death

 

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are two types of medical malpractice lawsuits that you might file – personal injury and wrongful death. The distinction between the two is simple: wrongful death applies if the patient dies, while personal injury applies if he doesn’t. In a personal injury lawsuit the patient files a claim for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, physical and psychological suffering, and perhaps even legal expenses. In a wrongful death lawsuit, certain close relatives of the patient (or in certain cases the estate executor) file a claim for funeral/burial expenses, the deceased’s physical suffering and lost wages, outstanding medical bills and psychological losses suffered by the relatives of the deceased.

 

Time Limits on Filing a Lawsuit

 

The statute of limitations sets the deadline by which you must file a lawsuit to keep your claim alive. A Missouri medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years of the medication error that harmed the patient. If the harm caused by the malpractice was particularly difficult to promptly detect, however, a court might accept a lawsuit for as long as ten years after the malpractice occurred. If the patient dies as a result of a medication error, close relatives (excluding siblings) may file a medical malpractice lawsuit within three years after the date of death. Remember that pursuing an out-of-court settlement will likely be futile once the limitation period expires, because the defendant need not fear an adverse judgment even if he refuses to settle the claim.


Winning a medical malpractice lawsuit (or securing an adequate out-of-court settlement) requires both medical knowledge and legal advocacy skills. Although hiring a lawyer will cost you money, the amount of the verdict or settlement you win could exceed your legal expenses many times over. Alvin Wolff is aggressive and relentless in pursuing his clients’ interests, and he has decades of experience standing up to insurance company lawyers. Call 314-241-2500 now for your free initial consultation.  

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