We place a great deal of trust for our wellbeing and often our lives to the surgeons, other doctors, and nurses that provide treatment to us. We assume they will do their best, adhere to continuing education, and use the currently recommended treatments. Many more times than not medical caregivers do an excellent job. We are indebted to them for their knowledge and service. Mistakes happen, but sometimes those mistakes should have been avoided.
In North Carolina, successful prosecution of a medical malpractice claim requires proof that a prescribed standard of care has been breached in the services a patient is provided by a medical provider. A technical and legal term, “standard of care” is a diagnostic and treatment protocol a clinician should follow for a certain type of patient, illness, or injury. In order to sustain a valid claim for medical malpractice, it must also be proven that the breach of the standard of care caused or contributed to the injuries suffered.
There are several laws, guidelines, rules, and time limitations called a statute of limitations, that apply to malpractice claims. Depending on the circumstances unique to your claim, different time limitations for filing your lawsuit with the court may apply. Lawsuits must be filed within the following time periods:
- Within three years after the date the act of malpractice occurred (or two years after the date of death);
- If the injury is not immediately noticeable, within one year after the injury is discovered and within four years after the date the malpractice occurred.
- Within one year after the discovery of an object left inside a person (for example, an instrument during surgery), and within ten years from when the incident occurred.
The importance of adhering to the statute of limitations cannot be overstated. If a medical malpractice case is filed and any of the deadlines have been missed, the court will dismiss your case barring you from recovery of damages relating to your claim. If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, we strongly recommend that you seek experienced, qualified legal representation immediately.
Along with compliance with the statute of limitations, there are two evidentiary rule requirements that must be met. First, a plaintiff, the injured person, must have at least one medical expert that will testify a standard of care has not been met resulting in medical negligence. The plaintiff must also prove, with medical expert testimony, that the failure to adhere to the standard of care caused the injuries being suffered. In a case involving care received in an emergency room, a higher burden of proof is required but the same principles apply. Finding and securing the necessary expert witnesses is a critical part of every medical malpractice case. The attorneys at DeMent Askew & Johnson have an extensive web of consultants and other contacts, allowing them to quickly find the right experts for your case.
James T. Johnson
In addition to specific deadlines and evidentiary rules, North Carolina imposes limitations on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. With few exceptions, non-economic damage recovery is limited to just over $500,000, though actual monetary damage recovery is not so limited. At the Judge’s discretion, separate trials may be required on each of the different types of damages. Medical malpractice claims are complex matters requiring great legal skill and experience to navigate. Some of the claims we've handled include:
- Emergency room errors, EMT negligence
- Surgical errors
- Leaving medical instruments or sponges in the body after surgery
- Failure to timely diagnose illnesses, including cancer
- Failure to properly treat illnesses
- Birth injury
- Failure to detect or properly treat bedsores
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Performing the wrong medical procedure or the right procedure on the wrong part of the body
- Improper prescription medication
The attorneys at DeMent Askew & Johnson are well versed in medical malpractice law. We understand the challenges that arise following a serious medical injury, the emotional issues surrounding loss of trust, and the burden of continued medical care in the face of income lost due to the inability to work. When malpractice results in death, family members left behind additionally suffer the anguish of losing a loved one.
We handle claims of those that have been severely injured, and those of families who have lost a loved one as a result of the negligence or carelessness of healthcare providers. Our compassionate and experienced attorneys understand the impact of an unexpected and life-altering event. Our goal is to help alleviate your concerns while fighting for your rights and those of your family. Call us for an appointment today. Consultations are cost and risk free.
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PROVEN TRIAL SUCCESS
In a unanimous opinion filed on December 18, 2018, a three-judge Court of Appeals panel affirmed the $6.12 Million Dollar jury verdict Mr. Johnson and associate Chynna Smith won on behalf of their client, a former state firearms examiner, Beth Desmond, in her libel case against the Raleigh News & Observer and reporter Mandy Locke.…
Stroke Victim Resident of a Nursing Home that Was Raped by Co-Resident Receives Large Confidential Settlement
DeMent Askew’s client had suffered a stroke years ago. She could not speak as a result of the stroke, and she was also confined to a wheelchair. However, she was still very sharp mentally. She was residing in a nursing home because of her physical limitations. One day, a new resident appeared in the nursing…
Nurse at Local Hospital Involved in Automobile Collision Receives $300,000.00 Settlement After Extensive Litigation
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The defendant involved in a wreck on a moped. The defendant was found by emergency responders beside the moped with injuries consistent with being involved in an accident. Defendant was transported to the hospital where law enforcement responded. Upon entering the hospital room officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol and the defendant admitted to…
Estate of Elderly Mother of Three That Suffered Through Negligent Care at a Nursing Home Resulting in Death Receives Large Confidential Settlement
The deceased was a resident of a North Carolina nursing home. She had recently been sent to a local hospital for an unrelated illness and was recovering well from this prior illness. During this recovery period, she developed an ulcerous wound in and around her sacrum. The nursing home staff failed to timely detect the…
Single Mother on Her Way to Work Hit by Pick-Up Truck Running a Red Light Receives $122,500.00 Settlement Just Before Trial
DeMent Askew & Johnson’s client was driving south on Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh on her way to work. She was approaching the intersection with Centennial Parkway and was intending to travel straight through the intersection. At the same time, the Defendant was driving a large pick-up truck traveling in a northerly direction on Lake…
North Carolina Crime Lab Firearms Examiner Wins 9 Million Dollar Verdict in 3 ½ Week Long Libel Jury Trial Against the News and Observer
9 Million Dollar Verdict is Top Verdict in North Carolina for 2016 as Reported by Lawyers Weekly! Attorney: James Johnson, Dement Askew Date of Verdict: October 2016 In 2006, North Carolina expert firearms examiner Beth Desmond was asked to examine some bullet fragments and shell casings from a homicide crime scene. The incident occurred in…
Part-Time Student and Restaurant Worker Attacked by Two Pit Bulls While Mowing Grass Receives $101,000.00 Settlement After Extensive Litigation Including Separate Lawsuit Regarding Insurance Coverage
On a summer afternoon, Mr. Johnson’s client was mowing the lawn at the residence of a friend house in Raleigh. The property line running along the back of where he was mowing the lawn runs alongside and is adjacent to the back of the yard of a house which was being kept two Pit Bull…
Man Moving from Georgia to West Virginia to be Closer to Family Hit by 18-Wheeler in North Carolina Receives $140,000.00 Settlement After Extensive Litigation
Mr. Johnson’s client was driving a Dodge pick-up truck northeasterly on the on-ramp for traffic exiting off of I-485 and onto I-77 north in Charlotte. He was in the process of moving from Georgia to West Virginia and was pulling a U-Haul trailer. He had a full load in the bed of his truck. One…
Long-time Sales Associate at Plumbing and HVAC Supply Company Receives Confidential Settlement as a Result of Medical Malpractice
DeMent Askew & Johnson’s client was in his yard filling a birdfeeder with birdseed when he fell and twisted his left leg in an awkward position. He immediately heard a crack and saw that his left ankle was turned in an awkward position. His wife called 911. EMS arrived and transported him to a local…