WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management.
To be considered medical malpractice under the law, the claim must have the following characteristics:
- A violation of the standard of care - The law acknowledges that there are certain medical standards that are recognized by the profession as being acceptable medical treatment by reasonably prudent health care professionals under like or similar circumstances. This is known as the standard of care. A patient has the right to expect that health care professionals will deliver care that is consistent with these standards. If it is determined that the standard of care has not been met, then negligence may be established.
- An injury was caused by the negligence - For a medical malpractice claim to be valid, it is not sufficient that a health care professional simply violated the standard of care. The patient must also prove he or she sustained an injury that would not have occurred in the absence of negligence. An unfavorable outcome by itself is not malpractice. The patient must prove that the negligence caused the injury. If there is an injury without negligence or negligence that did not cause an injury, there is no case.
- The injury resulted in significant damages - Medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely expensive to litigate, frequently requiring testimony of numerous medical experts and countless hours of deposition testimony. For a case to be viable, the patient must show that significant damages resulted from an injury received due to the medical negligence. If the damages are small, the cost of pursuing the case might be greater than the eventual recovery. To pursue a medical malpractice claim, the patient must show that the injury resulted in disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering and hardship, or significant past and future medical bills.
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Unfortunately, often times the result of a personal injury accident has a large impact on your physical and financial livelihood. If this is the case it is important that you speak with an attorney regarding your options. Fill out the form below and one of our staff will reach out to you to schedule a FREE consultation to help educate and navigate you through this troubling ordeal.
MOST COMMON SETTLEMENTS
Errors by medical professionals can arise in virtually any setting, but some types of mistakes are more common than others. Just showing that a mistake occurred, however, is not enough to establish liability. The patient must show that the mistake fell below the appropriate standard of care for the doctor’s specialty and that they were injured as a direct result. In other words, disappointment with the results of a procedure does not form a basis for a medical malpractice claim, nor does a mistake that caused no real harm to the patient.
Sometimes a doctor fails to recognize and diagnose a condition when a competent doctor would have spotted it. This may result in the condition progressing to a more advanced stage, which may require more significant treatment and cause the patient greater pain and suffering. In the case of a serious condition like cancer, an inaccurate or late diagnosis may result in the patient’s death.
Surgical Errors and Anesthesia Errors
Many of the most obvious incidents of malpractice occur during surgical procedures. Some types of surgical errors are known as “never events,” which means that the medical profession acknowledges that these errors should never occur. A patient may not need expert testimony in these cases because the negligence is obvious.
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals can be held accountable for an error in prescribing or providing medication. The doctor probably will be liable if a mistake happens during the prescription process, while the nurse and the hospital that employs them likely will be liable for a mistake during administration.
Know How Long You Have to File a Claim by Contacting a Professional or Attorney
When deciding whether to file a medical malpractice claim, it's important to find out how much time you have to legally bring the claim. All civil claims, including medical malpractice cases, have time limits as to when they must be filed. These limits, called “statutes of limitations,” require you to file your claim within a certain time period from when the injury occurred, or risk waiving your rights to recover money for your injuries. YOU SHOULD CALL US!
Get a Medical Assessment to Confirm Your Case Has Merit
To file a certificate of merit you must first contact an expert, usually another physician. This expert will review your medical records and certify that the original health care provider deviated from accepted medical practices, which resulted in your injuries. The attorney that you hire will now file the certificate of merit, which confirms that you spoke with a medical expert and that your action has merit. YOU SHOULD CALL US!
Starting a Medical Malpractice Case? Get Help From an Attorney
Finding a qualified medical malpractice attorney can mean the difference between receiving compensation for your injuries and walking away empty-handed. An experienced attorney will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advise you on a course of action moving forward. YOU SHOULD CONTACT US!