Skilled Medical Malpractice Lawyers Against Kaiser Permanente in Fremont, CA
As a patient, you trust your doctor to do what is best when you need diagnosis and care. You do not expect to suffer serious injuries, illnesses, or infections due to careless mistakes made by your physician or healthcare provider. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is a type of injury that affects thousands of patients every year.
If you have experienced medical malpractice as a member of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan at one of its California Kaiser Foundation Hospitals or through the actions of Permanente Group Physicians who staff Kaiser facilities, it is important to hire an attorney with experience handling Kaiser cases. Kaiser cases are unique and operate differently than other medical malpractice cases., involving a unique arbitration process.
The Kaiser medical malpractice team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly + Schoenberger, has more years of experience prosecuting Kaiser Arbitration than any other California firm.
We have successfully represented Kaiser members since the arbitration system was first adopted in 1976. Prosecuting Kaiser claims is a central part of our practice. We have as many as 10 cases pending against Kaiser at one time every year. Contact us to begin with a free consultation about your case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the term used to describe medical negligence. Negligence is carelessness – it is the failure to practice medicine consistent with the standard of care expected from every well-trained doctor. Negligence occurs when a healthcare professional – such as a hospital, doctor, or nurse – causes an injury to a patient through a negligent act or omission. Again, negligence means that a medical practitioner has deviated from the accepted standard of care.
If a healthcare provider commits an act or omission that does not meet the accepted norms for their field of medicine, it is malpractice. When medical malpractice injures or kills a patient, the victim or the victim’s family members have the right to file a claim or lawsuit in pursuit of financial compensation for related losses—cases involving Kaiser Permanente.
What Is Kaiser Permanente Arbitration?
Kaiser is a health maintenance organization (HMO) serving over 12.6 million members. Over 8 million of those members are located in California. Kaiser’s health plan contract bars California members from going to court to seek justice in the event of medical malpractice. Any patient under the age of 65 is required to pursue a claim through the Kaiser arbitration system.
In the Kaiser arbitration system, here is what to expect:
- If settlement cannot be achieved, an arbitration hearing will be held in a private office or conference room (not a courtroom or courthouse) in the county where the negligence occurred. Kaiser arbitration hearings are confidential; they are not part of the public record.
- The Office of the Independent Administrator of the Kaiser arbitration system will handle the details of the resolution process, controlling all details from the appointment of an arbitrator to requiring compliance with the special arbitration Rules.
- At arbitration, a neutral third person (the arbitrator) hears evidence and arguments presented by both parties involved and renders a final, binding written decision that cannot be appealed or overturned by a court.
Kaiser arbitration differs from a typical medical malpractice claim in that it does not involve a jury. The neutral arbitrator acts as both the jury and judge. The arbitrator is required to resolve the case based on the evidence presented in light of California law.
Although cases against Kaiser Permanente proceed to arbitration, they are governed by California Medical Malpractice law. An attorney from the Walkup law firm will more fully explain these laws for you during your case:
- Burden of proof. The burden of proof requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant is more likely than not guilty of medical malpractice. The burden of proof rests with the plaintiff, meaning the plaintiff must provide adequate evidence to establish liability.
- Elements required. The elements that are necessary to prove a medical malpractice claim are that the doctor (or another defendant) owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the doctor violated this duty of care, the breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury, and the plaintiff suffered an injury, loss, damage or harm.
- Cap on damages. California has caps – or legal limits – on pain and suffering (aka noneconomic) damages awarded in medical malpractice cases. There are two separate caps, depending on whether a wrongful death claim is involved. In a wrongful death case, the cap is $500,000. Each January 1st, this cap increases by $50,000 until it reaches $1 million. If the medical malpractice case involves physical injury rather than death, the cap is $350,000 and increases each year by $40,000 until it reaches $750,000.
Kaiser Permanente Locations in Fremont, California
Kaiser Permanente has 36 hospitals and multiple medical offices in California. Based in Oakland, Kaiser has 15 markets being served in Northern California:
- Central Valley
- East Bay
- Greater San Francisco
- Greater Southern Alameda
- Redwood City
- San Jose
- Santa Clara
- Santa Cruz
- South Sacramento
The Fremont Kaiser Permanente Medical Center is located at 39400 Paseo Padre Parkway. There are also nearby offices in Union City (3553 Whipple Road), Hayward (27400 Hesperian Boulevard), Milpitas (770 East Calaveras Boulevard), and Pleasanton (7601 Stoneridge Drive).
Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice Claims Against Kaiser
The most common types of Obstetrical cases brought against Kaiser Permanente are:
- Birth injury cases. Obstetrical malpractice – mistakes made during a woman’s pregnancy or childbirth/delivery – can result in serious infant injuries, including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, brain damage, paralysis, blindness, and death.
- Cerebral palsy cases. Cerebral palsy is most commonly produced by oxygen deprivation to the fetus during the second stage of labor. It is documented by physical examination and brain MRI. Our lawyers are experts in identifying and prosecuting these cases.
- Cephalopelvic disproportion diagnostic errors in estimating fetal size can occur at a Kaiser Medical Center if the obstetrician or radiologist makes a mistake misinterpreting ultrasounds, failing to order the correct tests, or ignoring the mother’s size, symptoms, and history.
- Failure to intervene with a timely caesarian section. When a fetus demonstrates indications of stress, depressed heart rate, bradycardia, or fetal heart tracings show category three deceleration, a cesarean section is necessary to protect mother and baby. A negligent delay in operative intervention is grounds for a legal claim.
- Obstetric medication cases. Improper management of drugs used to stimulate labor, including pitocin, may cause injury to the mother or baby.
Common Non-Obstetrical Medical Negligence cases include:
- Delayed diagnosis. Delayed diagnoses of potentially fatal conditions like infectious processes, heart irregularities, or cancer are often the basis of valid claims. Diagnostic delays occur in the Kaiser system when information gets lost or ignored. If nurses, doctors, technicians, or other caretakers ignore or misinterpret patient history, medical records, test results, x-rays, lab work, or other studies, a claim exists.
- Emergency room errors. Emergency room physicians and nurses must recognize acute conditions promptly to avoid later complications or death. When ER facilities are crowded, understaffed, stressed, or not following appropriate guidelines, patients may suffer undue harm.
- Missed cardiac emergencies. Cardiac symptoms must be recognized and worked up to avoid heart attacks or heart failure.
- Pediatric cases. A Kaiser pediatrician could make a harmful mistake while treating a child patient, such as misdiagnosing a child’s illness or making errors while anesthetizing a small child for surgery.
- Surgical errors. Technical errors, intraoperative anesthesia mistakes, and nursing negligence can all produce patient injury in surgery. Other errors and complications include wrong-site surgery, organ damage, injured arteries, nerve damage, and lack of communication between professionals.
- Wrongful death cases. Errors that cause patient deaths are the most severe consequences of the extreme instances of Kaiser Permanente medical negligence. Surviving family members may have grounds to pursue compensation through a wrongful death arbitration proceeding.
If a Kaiser professional or Permanente group physician caused injury or death in the delivery of medical care services, you may be eligible to file a claim against Kaiser Permanente in Fremont. You can find out if you have grounds for a claim after a breach of the standard of care by calling or emailing the medical negligence team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly + Schoenberger for a no-obligation free consultation exploring your legal rights.
There Are Strict Time Limits for Filing a Kaiser Permanente Medical Malpractice Claim in Fremont
California’s statute of limitations in medical malpractice lawsuits for adults is one year from the date that the patient discovers or reasonably should have discovered their injuries, and in any event, no longer than three years from the date of injury. Although the arbitration system run by the Office of the Independent Administrator operates under its own rules, California’s statute of limitations still applies.
While an injured patient cannot sue Kaiser, pursuing arbitration must occur within the same limitations period. In a medical malpractice case involving an injured child under six, the claim must be filed within three years or before the child’s eighth birthday, whichever time frame is longer.
What Compensation Is Available for a Victim of Kaiser Permanente Medical Malpractice?
Recovering financial compensation for medical malpractice at a Kaiser Permanente health center in Fremont requires proof of your losses. Financial compensation may be available for all of these losses and more:
- Past and future medical bills
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Permanent disability
- Lost earnings and income
- Lost capacity to earn in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages
Contact Our Fremont Kaiser Permanente Medical Malpractice Attorney
Do not accept a quick settlement offered by Kaiser Permanente to resolve a medical malpractice case without first knowing your rights and the entitlement you have under governing law. A member of the Walkup Kaiser malpractice team lawyer can advise you of your rights and your damages under California law.