What is medical malpractice and how do I make a claim?
There is no denying that most of our doctors and nurses that work in our hospitals to a great job and we love them. However, unfortunately even the best doctor can make a mistake. These mistakes can be costly when it comes to you or one of your loved ones health.
It takes many years of experience, training and education to become a medical professional and to ensure each patient is receiving the treatment they deserve.
Whilst the majority of medical professionals give exceptional treatment day in and day out, they can still make mistakes (they are only humans after all).
As these mistakes can be so costly, knowing your legal rights is very important in order to receive the compensation you deserve. Here we will discuss some of the important things you should be aware of when dealing with a medical malpractice cases.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a medical professional makes an error which causes harm to a patient. This can be through an action or a failure to act and often results from a flawed diagnosis, improper treatment or treating a patient without their full permission.
There are usually 3 common types of medical malpractice claims. An incorrect diagnosis or failing to diagnose an illness altogether is one type of medical malpractice.
The second type is where the doctor causes harm through an incorrect or poorly implemented procedure that a competent doctor would have done differently.
Another common type of medical malpractice is where the doctor has failed to properly communicate all the risks involved of a treatment or procedure.
Medical malpractice law and legislation
It can be difficult to try and determine if you have a medical malpractice case without having a working knowledge of medical practises. It is also be hard to determine who might be at fault.
Lawyers and the courts can use certain tests and standards which have been developed by the legal system to decide who exactly is to be held responsible. The person who is found responsible will be required to financially compensate the individual who sustained the injury.
Medical malpractice law suits can often be very complex, extremely expensive and time consuming. The laws are designed to protect patients by helping them receive the compensation they deserve. There are slightly dissimilar legislations in different states.
Some states have passed legislation which makes it difficult to win medical malpractice cases. Some states have put caps on the amount of damages and attorneys’ fees that can be awarded. There is also often a time limit which is usually around 2 years for filing malpractice suits.
Claiming medical malpractice
In order to make a medical malpractice claim there are some things that you, the injured patient, will have to prove to establish that negligence has taken place.
Firstly, and it sounds quite obvious but you will have to prove that he or she has actually been your doctor. To do this you need to find records that they have been your doctor and you hired them to diagnose and treat your complaint.
You will also need to prove that the medical professional has done something negligent. This means that you will have to find evidence that a competent medical professional would have done something differently in order to achieve better results.
Another important aspect which you need to establish is that there is a connection between the personal injury of the patient and the doctors’ deviance from the standard of care. To do this you will need to hire another doctor or an expert who would testify that this is the case.
Finally you need to prove that you were harmed i.e. you suffered physically or mentally and you had to pay for more medical treatment or that you suffered loss of earnings.
An estimated that 200,000 patients die from medical mishaps in the United States every year. But with only around 15% of the personal injury lawsuits filed each year and only 20% of those actually receiving anything, contacting a personal injury lawyer is paramount.
An experienced personal injury attorney will discuss with you the strengths and weaknesses of your case and work out with you the best way to proceed.