Medical malpractice is a very serious claim that goes well beyond being harmed by a medical professional. In medical malpractice, the harmed patient must demonstrate that the medical professional failed to perform his or her medical duties competently and correctly. Before accepting the case, a good malpractice attorney will establish these important facts:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship. What is a doctor-patient relationship? This is when a person (you) hires a medical professional to diagnose and treat an illness. For medical malpractice to exist, you must have this formal relationship. Your complaint may not be based on remarks a doctor made in a social setting or any casual conversation. Sometimes a true doctor-patient relationship is difficult to support when there is a consulting physician who did not directly treat you.
- The medical professional was negligent. The doctor may have made a mistake, but the law requires that he or she was negligent – which in the medical malpractice world means that his or her care fell below the standard of care for like medical professionals. The medical profession has known standards of care, and doctors are obligated to meet these standards of care. You will be required to present a medical expert who can testify about the accepted standard of care and how the doctor did not follow it (or did not follow it completely).
- The negligence caused your injury. Sometimes it is difficult to prove this, as perhaps the original disease or accident that brought you to the doctor caused the harm you experienced. This is one of the strategies the doctor’s attorneys may adopt. Working on your behalf, a good injury lawyer will work to prove that it is more likely than not that the harm was caused directly by the doctor’s incompetent decision(s) or treatment. Once again, you will need to present a medical expert who will testify to this effect.
- Your injury led to certain damages. The case may indicate that the doctor performed below the standard of care, but you must also prove that the doctor’s performance caused you injuries which damaged you. These may include physical pain, mental anguish, medical bills in addition to those for the original illness or accident, and/or lost time at work or earning capacity.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
A variety of mistakes, misjudgements or failures to perform can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. They generally fall into the following categories:
Failure to diagnose asks “Is it likely that a competent doctor would have made the correct diagnosis, and would you have had a better outcome if the diagnosis was correctly made?”
Improper treatment goes to whether the correct treatment was chosen, and if the treatment was administered properly.
Failure to provide informed consent goes to whether the doctor ensured that you knew and understood the risks associated with the treatment.
Many states have very specific rules about when and how medical malpractice cases must be filed. If you have been injured and believe it is due to negligence on the part of a medical professional, schedule a consultation as soon as possible with Perna & Abracht LLC.