What are our rights if my husband had carpal tunnel surgery about 6 months ago but since then he has a lot of trouble with his left hand?

After complaining to the surgeon many times, they finally admitted that they had cut a nerve during his carpal tunnel surgery. About 1 month ago, they went back in to try and fix the nerve. We’re starting to receive bills for this second surgery and feel that since the surgeon made the mistake and cut the nerve, we shouldn’t have to pay to have it repaired. Are we correct in thinking this way, or should we get legal help?

Asked on September 2, 2015 under Malpractice Law, West Virginia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under  the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm.
The surgeon cutting the nerve constituted malpractice.  You should not be billed for the surgeon's mistake and subsequent second surgery to repair the mistake.
Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence with the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier, it may be possible for your husband to settle the case with the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier.
Your husband's claim filed with the malpractice insurance carrier should include his medical bills, medical reports, and if applicable, documentation of any wage loss.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of his injury / medical condition / cutting of the nerve and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If your husband is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier, he should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the surgeon.
If the case is NOT settled with the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier, your husband's lawsuit for negligence against the surgeon must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your husband will lose his rights forever in the matter.
 


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