For healthcare providers and practitioners, allegations of wrongdoing aren’t just business. They’re intensely personal.
Doctors and healthcare professionals devote their lives to helping patients. When that work is challenged in a court of law, it threatens their reputation, their livelihood and their future.
To combat that threat, they need an attorney who understands more than just the law. You need someone who understands the medicine, the industry and what it takes to preserve your reputation.
At Lincoln Derr, we work tirelessly for our clients all the way from pre-litigation to the courtroom.
Our areas of expertise cover a range of cases:
- ZBirth Injuries
- ZBrain Injuries
- ZWrongful Death
- ZSurgical/Anesthesia Complications
- ZInformed Consent
- ZSexual Misconduct
- ZRegulatory Violations (HIPAA, EMTALA)
- ZProfessional Licensure Claims
- ZNegligence/Emotional Distress
- ZAdministrative Negligence (Medical practices and hospitals)
We Know the Industry
Our team has over 100 years of combined experience in the healthcare field. We have in-depth knowledge of North Carolina’s medical records laws, electronic medical records (EMR), state licensing and the boards that preside over the medical and related fields. And we’ve developed a strong rapport with the judges in the jurisdictions that will hear your case.
We’ll Source Experts When Needed
The subject matter in medical malpractice cases can be incredibly complex. To get to the truth, judges and jurors often need input from expert witnesses to make sense of it all. We thoroughly research and vet all objective reviewers to confirm credibility and expertise.
We’ll Fight For Your Livelihood
When we represent you, you can trust that we will do it with professionalism and passion. We care about the welfare of each and every client, and we commit to being there for you — 24/7 — so we can take the worry off your plate.
We dedicate at least two skilled attorneys to every case, but our collaborative approach means we’re sourcing input and expertise from every member of our staff so you get the most value and the best possible result.
We’ll help you assess and manage your risk at the outset and as the case unfolds in court, if it comes to that. Our job is to do what’s in the best interests of our clients, but we’re also ready to fight hard for our clients when we need to.
Should a complaint be filed and your license called into question, we can represent you before any applicable boards. We will ensure you’re treated with respect inside and outside the courtroom.
Our Attorneys in Action
Attention to detail can make or break a case. Several years ago, our co-founder Sara Lincoln was in the midst of a sinus surgery case that came down to a choice of equipment. The doctor had used surgical loupes, but opposing counsel claimed that an endoscope was the better choice and brought in an expert to vouch for it. They didn’t count on Sara reading the fine print.
Click here to find out what happened next.
Medical Malpractice FAQ’s
Can you help with pre-litigation representation?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s highly recommended any time you have an unexpected adverse outcome. Lincoln Derr attorneys routinely consult with clients on risk management issues and pre-litigation matters. Complications and near misses happen in all areas of medicine, many times despite reasonable and appropriate care. Utilizing practical tips from our combined experiences and the cases we have defended, in addition to understanding the ramifications to a healthcare provider in either resolving or denying a claim, we offer unique problem-solving options to realize the goals of our clients.
Is Lincoln Derr familiar with healthcare regulations?
Yes. Many regulatory risks may arise in the career of a healthcare professional, and Lincoln Derr attorneys are available to assist. Our regulatory representation includes, among other areas, defense of claims involving improper billing practices, employee retaliation or valid termination practices, EMTALA violations, HIPAA violations, off-label use of equipment or medication, media content liability, oversight of affiliate clinicians, telemedicine issues, social media presence, digital apps malfunctioning, communications with patients, and medical board investigations.
We have a proven track record in matters brought before the North Carolina Medical Board, including claims of provider substance abuse or overprescribing. We have successfully represented physicians and other healthcare providers in investigations, at compliance conferences, and at administrative hearings and appeals.
How do medical malpractice lawsuits work in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, a medical malpractice lawsuit arises when a plaintiff files a complaint alleging he or she was injured due to a healthcare provider failing to comply with the applicable standards of practice, failing to use his or her best judgment, or failing to use reasonable care and diligence in the treatment of that patient.
What is the standard of care?
The standard of care is a reasonable approach, practice, or procedure for a particular medical situation that is accepted by the medical community in a particular geographic location. This can vary depending on where the medical service was provided or the medical condition at issue, and the standard of care may encompass numerous approaches or practices applicable to a particular condition or situation.
A breach of the standard of care means a failure to provide medical treatment consistent with an accepted standard. If this failure causes actual injury, the injured individual, or his or her estate in instances of a wrongful death lawsuit, is entitled to damages under the law. A healthcare provider may also be liable if he or she fails to use his or her best judgment in the treatment or care of the patient or fails to use reasonable care and diligence in the application of his or her knowledge and skill in the treatment of the patient.
Can I be held liable for an injury under the law?
Yes. If a plaintiff can establish a breach of a duty owed by the healthcare provider, he or she then must prove that the healthcare provider’s breach or failure proximately caused an injury. A breach with no injury is not compensable. In addition to proving that the healthcare provider was negligent, plaintiffs must also prove that the negligence actually caused some compensable injury.
Similarly, damages for emotional distress are only compensable if the plaintiff actually suffered severe emotional distress. So, hurt feelings, annoyance, or mere inconvenience are not compensable injuries.
What are the potential legal damages for medical malpractice under North Carolina law?
Damages may include both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are those directly resulting from the injuries sustained, such as lost wages, medical bills, and “non-economic” damages such as pain and suffering. In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly capped the recoverable amount of non-economic damages at $500,000 (adjusted for inflation every three years, it currently stands at $533,409). The cap may not apply, however, where the healthcare provider’s alleged actions constitute indifference to the rights and safety of others.
Punitive damages seek to punish wrongful conduct and may only be sought when the healthcare provider’s conduct can be described as willful or wanton. In medical malpractice actions, punitive damages are rarely awarded, as the vast majority of healthcare providers diligently work to help their patients.