North Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you or a loved one is a victim of medical negligence or malpractice, contact the law office of Irons & Irons, P.A.

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north carolina medical malpractice lawyers

Medical Malpractice Claims: Protecting Your Health

Where our health is concerned, we put our trust in the hands of medical professionals. When we have medical issues that need diagnosis and treatment, there is nothing more important than our healthcare professionals being knowledgeable and skillful. Even though the majority of healthcare workers do an extraordinary job, there are unfortunate instances when doctors, nurses, and caregivers make avoidable mistakes that can lead to further injury, illness, or even death. It can be devastating to be made aware that a trusted medical professional or facility did not provide you with the standard level of care you expected and deserved. 

When this happens, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. If you or someone you love is a victim of improper medical care or medical neglect that led to severe and unexpected complications, it’s imperative to have legal representation who can guide you through the intricate process and advocate on your behalf. Our North Carolina medical malpractice lawyer, Harry H. Albritton, Jr., and our team of experienced legal staff are unfaltering in helping you get the settlement you deserve.

Understanding Medical Malpractice

There are four elements of medical malpractice that you need to show:

  • The physician or facility owed a professional standard of care
  • There was a breach of duty
  • The victim suffered injuries as a result of the negligence
  • There were financial or intangible losses

The Physician/Facility Owed You a Professional Standard of Care

You need to show that you were a patient and that a doctor-patient relationship existed to prove that a standard of care was owed to you.

These are examples of doctor and patient relationships:

  • An attending physician in the emergency room
  • An obstetrician monitoring a pregnancy and delivering a baby
  • A nurse practitioner who is the family’s primary care provider
  • A surgeon performing a procedure

There Was a Breach of Duty

Proving that there was a breach of duty can be quite difficult. There are many ways a breach of duty can occur and it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to pinpoint exactly how the breach occurred without the help of a medical expert.

The Victim Suffered Injuries as a Result of the Negligence

Medical malpractice cases must include an injury to the victim. A violation of the standard of care alone is not malpractice. It can be a new injury or illness, a worsening of their existing condition, or emotional harm. The evidence to prove this element comes from the victim’s medical records, medical expert testimony, and the victim’s own statements.

In addition to showing that injury or illness occurred from the incident, the plaintiff must be able to show that the injury caused severe, long-term damage, including:

  • Disability
  • Chronic pain
  • Emotional distress and hardship
  • Significant medical expenses

There Were Financial and Intangible Losses

There must be a value in the case for you to recover compensation for the injuries you or your loved one suffered due to medical malpractice.

To prove you experienced damages, you need to collect your:

  • Medical bills
  • Evidence of lost wages and benefits
  • Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses
  • Documentation of other losses you experienced

Additionally, you more than likely have noneconomic damages that our medical malpractice lawyer can help put a value on.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

Our medical malpractice team has worked on a wide variety of cases.

Some of the most common examples of medical negligence or malpractice include:

  • Birth injuries that result in developmental or physical disability
  • Failure to diagnose properly
  • Release from medical care too soon
  • Lack of follow-up or aftercare
  • Prescription errors
  • Emergency room efforts
  • Surgical errors
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Nursing errors
  • Procedural errors
  • Neglecting to take the patient’s history

Types of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice happens in many different ways. There are, however, some predominant mistakes that result in the most claims. These are some of the case types we most often see when representing our clients in medical malpractice suits.

Wrong-Site Surgery

It’s hard to imagine, but wrong-site surgery claims are a large portion of malpractice suits. Many times the patient’s injuries caused by the medical error are permanent.

Wrong-site surgery can entail:

  • A surgery was performed on the wrong side or part of your body
  • The wrong surgery procedure was performed
  • Surgery was performed on you that was meant for another patient


Forgotten or Overlooked Surgical Tool(s)

A lot goes on in the operating room during surgery and things happen quickly. Still, this doesn’t excuse a surgical tool or instrument being left inside the body after surgery. These are called “retained objects” that usually happen due to carelessness. About a dozen sponges and other surgical instruments are left inside patients every day. The most common items left in a patient’s body after a surgical procedure are sponges, gauzes, or bandages. Retained objects can be deadly if left undetected.

Birth Injuries

Medical professionals are educated and trained to act appropriately in complicated and difficult situations in order to keep babies and mothers safe. When they don’t act promptly in emergencies there can be severe short- and long-term birth injuries. Birth injury medical negligence happens when doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals do not meet a high standard of care during delivery, leading to complications during birth.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy can be caused due to brain injuries during delivery or birth complications such as lack of oxygen. Malpractice can occur when a health problem is not properly diagnosed in the mother such as an illness or infection and, therefore, goes untreated, ultimately causing cerebral palsy. Another case of malpractice would be if the doctor cuts off a child’s oxygen before, during, or shortly after birth causing cerebral palsy.

Brachial Plexus Injury

The brachial plexus is a connected network of nerves that provides movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm, and hand. These nerves are in the cervical area of the spinal column. A brachial plexus birth injury can be caused by an injury involving the child’s brachial plexus during the delivery process, resulting in incomplete sensory and/or motor function of the involved arm.

Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is not always preventable; however, there are precautions an expectant mother can take to minimize the risk. If the physician doesn’t ask the right questions and doesn’t  understand the mother’s medical history, and fails to warn the patient of her risks, he/she may be liable.

Some risk factors for increasing the possibility of delivering a baby with spina bifida are:

  • A deficiency in folic acid
  • A family history of neural tube effects
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Taking medications like anti-seizure drugs
  • Elevated body temperature during pregnancy


Wrongful Death of Baby

Where medical malpractice is concerned, the wrongful death of an infant occurs when a baby dies due to negligent medical care. Some birth injuries lead to fatalities such as severe asphyxiation, hemorrhaging in the brain, hydrocephalus, or damage to the spinal cord.

Wrongful Death of Mother

When the mother dies during pregnancy or childbirth from medical negligence, the healthcare professionals can be held liable.

Brain Damage from Oxygen Deprivation/Restricted Blood Flow

When a baby is deprived of oxygen and the brain has restricted blood flow because of it, brain damage occurs. Oxygen deprivation at birth is linked to conditions such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Even mild oxygen deprivation can result in cognitive problems, intellectual deficiencies and developmental delays as the child grows older. If a physician doesn’t identify a potential trauma factor and, as a result, your baby suffers from brain damage caused by asphyxiation, he/she can be held liable.

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)

PPHN occurs when a baby’s blood vessels do not open properly after birth so that the lungs can’t function properly. This causes oxygen deprivation that can lead to major brain injuries and cerebral palsy. Usually, medical malpractice involving PPHN involves a failure to properly and immediately respond to and manage babies who are in need of respiratory support.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone or sacrum during birth. After the head is born, there is normally a pause before the body comes out. When shoulder dystocia takes place, the delay is longer than normal and the birth becomes an emergency situation. Shoulder dystocia can lead to brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy which are nerve injuries that can weaken or paralyze an infant’s hands and arms. Shoulder dystocia is unpredictable and happens quickly so the physician must respond immediately. When the physician and medical professionals fail to meet the emergency situation with the level of care needed, the result is medical malpractice.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder. When the physician does not obtain a detailed history from the pregnant mother in order to identify risk factors for genetic disorders and, therefore, misses the genetic propensity for cystic fibrosis, he/she has not met the duty of care that is required.

Folic Acid Disorder

During pregnancy many things must be monitored and folic acid deficiency is one of them. If there is not enough folic acid, the chances are greatly increased for neural tube defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida, in the newborn. Folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) is necessary before and during pregnancy in order to promote a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Mental Retardation/Intellectual Disability

The causes of mental retardation and intellectual disability can be genetic but there are cases where the condition is brought on by medical negligence or malpractice. Lack of observation and response to warning signs in labor and delivery can result in birth injuries that cause mental retardation and intellectual disability.

Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is primarily caused by preeclampsia, which is chronic high blood pressure and signs of liver or kidney damage that occur after the 20th week of pregnancy. This causes the fetus not to grow as expected. IUGR can also happen if a pregnant woman has an infection like German measles or syphilis, smokes, drinks alcohol, or uses drugs. If a physician doesn’t monitor the size of the fetus properly during pregnancy and treat the mother for underlying causes, there can be a medical malpractice case.

Medication or Prescription Mistakes

When the wrong medication or dosage is prescribed to a patient, the consequences can be serious injury and/or death. Not only can the physician be held liable but also the dispensing party such as a CVS or Walgreens pharmacy.

Medical Malpractice Evidence

You may think that the medical mistake is obvious in your case, but it requires an experienced malpractice lawyer to build a strong case. Most malpractice claims are complex. A successful claim must establish the doctor-patient relationship, that the physician provided substandard care, and that the negligence caused significant injury and harm.

The primary and crucial component in a medical malpractice claim is the evidence. The first step an experienced attorney will do is to collect all the records from the hospital or doctor’s office to include certified copies of your records, oral statements from doctors and nurses, and any other evidence that is critical to your claim. The attorney uses the information to develop a chronological history of mistakes for the offending doctor and/or hospital that will be the foundation for your case.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

Medical malpractice is not always easy to prove. The standards for malpractice is great and the margin of error in handling these cases is tight. Many times, you may be fearful of speaking publicly about your experience. However, by bringing your case to court, you can call attention to a situation where the involved parties need to be held accountable. If you or a loved one was injured or killed due to a healthcare professional or a facility failing to provide the proper medical care or treatment, more than likely you have grounds to sue for medical malpractice. A malpractice attorney will know the actions to take in building your case to prove that the healthcare professional was negligent or failed to use reasonable care.

Medical Malpractice Settlements

The amount of compensation you receive in a settlement is determined by two main factors:

  • Special Damages: These include itemized, specific costs related to the incident, including lost wages, medical bills, and estimates of future costs of the injury.
  • Noneconomic Damages: These include the physical and emotional costs of your injury, such as chronic pain, permanent injury or disability, disfigurement, or emotional trauma.

Punitive damages are in the noneconomic damages category; however, they are factored differently. Punitive damages are specifically awarded to the plaintiff to punish the defendant. These are usually only awarded in the most serious and egregious cases.

Why Choose Irons & Irons, P.A.?

It’s imperative to have an experienced legal expert fighting for your case when improper medical care has led to a serious injury, illness, or death. You need someone on your side who can help you get the settlement you are owed and deserve. At Irons & Irons, P.A., you will find a legal team led by Attorney Harry H. Albritton who is knowledgeable and skilled at negotiating a fair settlement or litigating your case in order to hold the responsible parties who are at fault accountable. Our team includes a registered nurse who is able to break down medical records to get an in-depth insight into your case. We also have a network of experts who are able to provide critical information and obtain witness testimony if necessary. Most importantly, you will receive personal attention from your attorney, who will walk you through every step of your case and is available for questions and answers. This is a difficult time. We understand. You don’t need to go through it alone.

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Lawyer in North Carolina

When you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence or malpractice, contact Irons & Irons, P.A. to handle your case. We can provide a free case review and consultation to assist you in determining your next step. Our firm accepts medical malpractice cases in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville, Wilmington, Asheville, Winston-Salem, and the entire state of North Carolina. To set up a consultation with Attorney Harry H. Albritton, call us today at  919-899-7200 or complete the free case review