Issue: August 2016
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Diagnosing and Treating Multiple Sclerosis: Liability Considerations

Introduction

Multiple Sclerosis Liability Risks

Multiple sclerosis affects about 2.5 million people worldwide. About 400,000 of those suffering from multiple sclerosis live in the United States, where about 200 new cases of MS are diagnosed each week.

 

The causes of multiple sclerosis are not known, and no cure is currently available. What is known is the high cost that caring for a person with multiple sclerosis involves.

 

Because multiple sclerosis can be hard to diagnose, misdiagnosis may result, which can lead to litigation. Also, issues related to the treatment of MS, including drug-related issues, also may result in litigation.

 

Attorneys, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, manufacturers, and others who may be parties in litigation should be aware of the types of lawsuits and other liability issues that may arise in connection with the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis.  


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed to prevail on a claim for an injury related to multiple sclerosis? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?

Physicians:

How can liability for medical malpractice involving the diagnosis or treatment of multiple sclerosis be avoided? And, what is a potential strategy for the physician or other provider to employ?

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy for an injury related to the diagnosis or treatment of multiple sclerosis be avoided by proof that the health provider was not negligent or there was no coverage for the provider’s actions? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ?

Employers:

Can an employer be subject to liability for an employee’s multiple sclerosis? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a provider’s liability for malpractice or negligence involving the diagnosis or treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Physicians:

Presented is a checklist of items a physician must consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence involving the diagnosis or treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Insurers:

The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of malpractice or negligence involving the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Employers:

Use this checklist to determine if the employee’s injury involving the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis could be found “work related” and occurred “in the course of the employment.” 

Expert Analysis

What Mobility and Accessibility Strategies Are Available to Those With Multiple Sclerosis?

Kathleen Costello

What Evidence Is Needed for a Long-Term Multiple Sclerosis Disability Claim?

Jason Newfield, JD

Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.  


Reasons To Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.  


Reasons To Go To Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to take the action to trial.


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving multiple sclerosis? 



Medical Examples

Multiple Sclerosis

This section provides detailed medical information on multiple sclerosis (MS), the terminology used, the causes of MS, risk factors, onset and symptoms, diagnosis, differential diagnosis, and treatment. The section also discusses the patient’s prognosis and ability to work.  



Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on multiple sclerosis.


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Diagnosing and Treating Multiple Sclerosis: Liability Considerations

Table of Contents
Introduction

Expert Analysis
   Kathleen Costello
   Jason Newfield, JD

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy
   Attorneys
   Physicians and Health Providers
   Insurers
   Employers and Risk Managers

Practice the Technique: Checklists
   Attorney Checklist
   Physician Checklist
   Insurer Checklist
   Employer Checklist

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Reasons To Reach Settlement

Reasons To Go To Trial

Jury Awards and Settlements

Multiple Sclerosis

Law and Medicine Resources