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BOWEL INJURIES.

We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.

Minneapolis Bowel Injury Lawyers Fighting for Injured Patients in Minnesota

If you are reading this, I know that you have already experienced a serious bowel injury after undergoing what you expected to be a routine procedure. Bowel injuries can happen in all kinds of ways, and they often occur in minor surgeries when a surgeon or another healthcare provider makes a grievous error. I am so sorry that you are experiencing this terrible pain because your doctor did not take proper precautions during your procedure. I know that you are likely experiencing significant pain and suffering on top of dealing with extensive medical bills and lost wages caused by your injury.

When someone suffers a severe bowel injury because of a surgeon’s negligence, it is extremely important to seek help from a Minneapolis bowel injury lawyer who has experience representing injured patients in claims like yours. I know you may be wondering if you are eligible for compensation, and I know that you may be agonizing over the decision of whether to trust another doctor to help you heal from your serious injuries. You are in the right place if you need help from an experienced and compassionate Minnesota bowel injury lawyer. Our firm is here to help you. Continue reading to learn more about bowel injuries and filing a claim, and then call our firm to set up your consultation with our team.

Bowel injuries can result from many different types of errors in medical procedures, especially in gynecological procedures and laparoscopic surgeries. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides information about causes of bowel injuries and how they frequently happen. Common medical procedures that can lead to a bowel injury include but are not limited to the following:

  • Abdominal surgery;
  • Digestive tract surgical procedures;
  • Pelvic surgery;
  • Preparation for a colonoscopy;
  • Colonoscopy;
  • Sigmoidoscopy;
  • Caesarean section for childbirth (c-section);
  • Laparoscopy; and
  • Hysterectomy.

Bowel injuries frequently happen when a surgeon or another healthcare provider mishandles instruments that are necessary for an abdominal or gynecological surgical procedure, or the mishandling of laparoscopic instruments or energy devices like ultrasonic forceps.

Symptoms of a Bowel Injury

Sometimes patients who have suffered a bowel injury in a surgical procedure will experience obvious and immediate symptoms, while in other situations a patient may not have signs until some time has passed after the procedure. If you do have symptoms, you should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Frequent signs of bowel injury can include but are not limited to:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Bloating;
  • Rectal bleeding;
  • Change in bowel habits;
  • Fever;
  • Chills; and
  • General fatigue.

If you file a bowel injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover many different types of compensatory damages, such as compensation for:

  • Medical bills;
  • Surgery costs;
  • Prescription medications;
  • Rehabilitative therapy;
  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Although some states place caps on medical malpractice damages, you should know that Minnesota does not have these caps.

In some injury cases, the at-fault party will try to avoid paying full compensation to the plaintiff by raising the issue of comparative fault. Comparative fault is a defense that a defendant can use to say that the plaintiff is partially at fault and, as a result, is not entitled to receive full compensation. In some states, comparative fault or contributory negligence will mean that a plaintiff cannot recover any damages at all.

Under Minnesota’s comparative fault law, as long as a plaintiff is not more than 50 percent at fault, the plaintiff can still obtain damages. However, the plaintiff’s damages award will be reduced by his or her portion of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is 40 percent at fault, her recovery will be reduced by 40 percent. Once a plaintiff in Minnesota is 51 percent or more at fault, then the plaintiff is barred from recovery altogether.

How would comparative fault come up in a bowel injury case? If an injured patient realized she had an injury, for example, and did not see a doctor for a number of weeks, the injury may have worsened as a result. In such a case, the doctor who is responsible for causing the initial bowel injury may argue that the injured patient is partially at fault. In case comparative fault allegations come up in your case, you should know that we will work tirelessly to prove that you do not bear any responsibility for your injuries or their severity, and that you are entitled to receive 100 percent of your damages award.

When you have a bowel injury, it can be incredibly difficult to think about talking with a lawyer and filing a lawsuit when you are dealing with the physical trauma of the injury. However, you need to keep in mind that medical negligence claims have a statute of limitations, or a specific time window in which to file a claim. If you do not file your lawsuit within this time window, you can end up with a time-barred lawsuit. When a claim is time-barred, the injured patient cannot get the compensation that she or he deserves.

The statute of limitations in a Minnesota bowel injury case is four years from the date that the medical error occurred. This means you must file your bowel injury claim within four years from the date of the procedure that resulted in your bowel injury. We can ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner and that you remain eligible for the financial compensation you deserve.

In some cases, surgeons and other healthcare providers cannot prevent a bowel injury or bowel perforation in a particular patient. In situations where a patient has an undiagnosed bowel obstruction or colon cancer, a bowel perforation can happen even if the doctor takes all necessary precautions. At the same time, however, many bowel injuries are caused by medical negligence and can be avoided.

According to the AHRQ, bowel injuries are often avoidable by “adhering to some basic principles” of the surgical procedure being done. If we can show your doctor did not take proper precautions or did not adhere to some of those basic or essential principles surrounding your procedure, you can be entitled to receive full compensation for your losses.

Bowel injury claims are a type of medical malpractice, or medical negligence, claim. Generally speaking, in order to win a bowel injury claim in Minneapolis, you will need to be able to prove the following elements of the case:

  • Your healthcare provider owed you a duty of care, which is easy to prove when there is a doctor-patient relationship;
  • Your doctor breached that duty of care by making a mistake, or otherwise failing to act in a manner that another healthcare provider in the Minneapolis area in a similar field would have considered to be reasonable;
  • You suffered an injury; and
  • You have experienced damages.

I know how devastating injuries from medical mistakes can be, and I am so sorry that you are going through this unthinkable experience. I can help you to prove the necessary elements of your case and to fulfill all other requirements for a medical malpractice claim in Minnesota.

If you believe your bowel injury was caused by your doctor’s error, you should get in touch with an experienced Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you can to have your case evaluated.

It is important to know that some injuries can happen during a medical procedure without any type of negligence or error. Some types of medical procedures come with risks as a result of the type of procedure or because of the particular patient. Even when these risks do exist, your doctor has a duty to make sure you understand those risks and that you agree to them. Even if your doctor did everything right during your procedure and you still suffered a bowel injury because of an inherent risk, you can still hold your doctor liable if she or he failed to warn you about the risks, or if you agreed to take the risk without fully understanding it.

Seek Help from a Minneapolis Bowel Injury Attorney

When you have suffered a serious bowel injury because of your doctor’s negligence or the negligence of another healthcare provider, you need help from an experienced Minneapolis birth injury lawyer who can help you seek the compensation you need and deserve. Our firm can help you to build a strong medical malpractice case by gathering your medical records, finding a reliable medical expert to evaluate your case, and ensuring that your lawsuit is filed in a timely manner. Contact our Minneapolis birth injury attorney at Madia Law today online or call us at 612.349.2729 for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.

THE MADIA LAW WAY

We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients. 

We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely.  We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case.  We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well.  We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case.  We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial. 

Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward.  Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.

If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit.  Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required.  We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points.  Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims.  A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations.  Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.

Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions.  Not us.  Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity.  We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case.  Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections.  We view this as a wonderful opportunity.  In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on.  We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t.  The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts.  We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny.  Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true.  And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA.  That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.

One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery.  We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery.  This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses.  This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.

This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible.  So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true.  That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes.  We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is.  We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.

The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases.  We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery.  We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.

Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.

After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.

This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries.  We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials.  At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct.  As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.

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