Medical Negligence and Malpractice in Hawaii

by | Jun 18, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

You turn to doctors when something is wrong, and you’re experiencing pain and other abnormal occurrences. You hope the doctor will know what’s going on and provide a cure. If they say you need surgery, medication, or some other treatment, you trust that it’s the right course of action.  It can be devastating to realize your trust in the medical system was misplaced. You may learn your doctor misdiagnosed you, sending you down the wrong path. A surgeon may have botched a procedure. Whatever the situation, it’s time to talk with a Maui medical malpractice lawyer about holding the negligent health care provider responsible.  Contact Menzer Law at (808) 400-3726 to set up a free consultation.

Medical Torts in Hawaii

Hawaii law may entitle you to compensation if you can show you’re the victim of a medical tort. Hawaii Revised Statute §671-1 says a medical tort can be three things:

  • Professional negligence,
  • Providing professional services without informed consent, or
  • A mistake or omission in professional practice by a healthcare provider.

To qualify as a tort, and for you to receive compensation, one of these actions must have caused injury or death.Why does this definition matter? It shows a broad range of conduct constitutes medical malpractice, some of which is known as medical negligence.

Defining Medical Negligence in Hawaii

Negligence is not intentional or malicious harm. Instead, negligence happens when someone’s carelessness causes another person’s injury. In your situation, a medical provider’s possible carelessness is in question. That medical provider could be a physician, osteopathic physician, surgeon, physician assistant, podiatrist, or a healthcare facility and its employees. They’re all covered by Hawaii’s medical tort law. How do you know whether a medical provider’s conduct was careless or not? There’s a professional standard of care, and it’s careless for a provider to deviate from the standard of care. Generally, every healthcare provider’s professional standard of care is the level of care and skill a competent provider would offer under the same or similar circumstances. What that means varies from one real-world situation to the next. For example, the best course of action differs for someone presenting with increased thirst and unexplained weight loss versus someone who goes to the doctor because of shortness of breath, nausea, and chest pain.

Proving Medical Negligence in Maui

You can break medical negligence down into four parts:

  • First, the medical provider owed you a duty of care. We’ll prove you had a doctor-patient relationship.
  • Second, the medical provider didn’t follow that duty of care. We’ll prove their actions were different from the accepted standard of care.
  • Third, the medical provider’s deviation from the standard of care caused you harm. We’ll show you suffered a new injury or your condition worsened.
  • Fourth, you suffered an injury the medical provider can compensate you for.

Winning a medical negligence claim in Hawaii means establishing a doctor’s negligence. Your Maui medical malpractice lawyer would first present expert testimony regarding the accepted standard of care for your situation. Then, your lawyer would present evidence of how your health care provider’s conduct differed from the accepted standard of care.

Other Medical Malpractice: Lack of Informed Consent

Medical malpractice in Maui isn’t always a deviation from the standard of care. Your health care provider’s actions might be in line with what other providers would recommend. But it’s still not OK if your provider failed to obtain your informed consent outside of emergencies. To get your informed consent, your doctor should tell you:

  • Your condition,
  • The proposed treatment or procedure,
  • The anticipated results of that treatment or procedure,
  • Any possible alternatives,
  • The material risks associated with the proposed treatment or procedure, and
  • The benefits associated with the proposed treatment or procedure.

Your doctor doesn’t have to tell you every single possible side effect or complication. Instead, the standard is to tell you about any risk that’d matter to a reasonable person.

Talk with a Maui Medical Malpractice Lawyer About Your Situation

If you believe your or a loved one’s medical provider did something wrong, it helps to talk with an attorney who handles Hawaii medical malpractice cases. At Menzer Law, we’re here for you. We want to hear about what’s happened, and then we can give you our opinion based on years of experience. Whatever the case may be, we want you to walk away with answers to your questions and helpful information.

Hawaii Medical Negligence FAQs

Is medical negligence the same as medical malpractice?

In most cases, yes. Medical negligence is a medical tort in Hawaii, which people call medical malpractice. Negligence means a medical provider deviated from the recognized standard of care. You might have a legal claim if a health care provider’s negligence caused you harm or a loved one’s death. Talk with a Maui medical malpractice lawyer from Menzer Law about your rights and legal options.

Can I sue a doctor for medical malpractice in Maui?

Hawaii has specific procedures for handling medical malpractice claims. Unless you base your claim on lack of informed consent, you must have a medical expert certify your claim, which means they review the facts and determine whether you have a valid claim. Next, you file a claim with the Medical Inquiry and Conciliation Panel at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. You’ll only be able to sue the provider if you can’t resolve your medical malpractice claim through this process. If you have questions, call Menzer Law to talk with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Can I receive compensation for medical negligence?

If you can prove you a health provider’s negligence caused you harm, you can receive compensation for your financial damages, such as lost wages and medical bills, and non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Hawaii caps non-economic damages at $375,000. If you can show your provider harmed you intentionally, maliciously, or due to gross negligence, you may receive punitive damages. Talk with Menzer Law about compensation under Hawaii medical malpractice laws.

How long do I have to file a Hawaii medical malpractice claim?

If you’re over 18 years old, you usually have two years from the date the malpractice occurred. Other factors can influence how long you have to bring your claim. We highly recommend you talk with a Maui medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect medical malpractice. You can reach Menzer Law’s Maui office at (808) 400-3726.