Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional violates the standard of care that is rightfully due to patients. Usually, medical malpractice occurs because the doctor, nurse, or other health care professional makes a mistake in providing care for one of their patients.
What Patients Often Overlook in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Many patients do not always recognize when they might have a valid medical malpractice claim. Most cases must have the following attributes:
- There must be a doctor-patient relationship. This relationship must exist because medical professionals only have a duty to their patients. They do not have a duty to anyone else unless they assume a care-taking role. The doctor must realize that you are his or her patient and you must (usually) agree that this doctor is your caretaker.
- The doctor (or other medical professional) was negligent. Negligence occurs when the doctor acts in a careless or reckless manner. Medical malpractice claims must show that the doctor was not acting reasonably based on what other doctors would have done in a similar situation.
- The medical professional actually caused the injuries. Although the doctor may have made a mistake, the mistake may not actually cause any problems. The mistake must have produced some type of injury for a valid medical malpractice claim. The injury must be a result of the doctor’s mistake.
- There were actually injuries or damages involved. If the mistake did not result in any damages, then there is no medical malpractice claim. The patient must have suffered some type of harm for compensable damages. For example, typical damages could include pain, additional surgery or treatment, mental anguish, or lost work or lost earning capacity.
What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice cases can arise in virtually any situation. However, some of the most common types of cases include:
- Surgical errors
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to warn of known risks
- Failure to recognize prior medical conditions or allergies
- Improper treatment
- Leaving equipment inside of a patient
What Does a Medical Malpractice Case Involve?
Medical malpractice law is very confusing, from both legal and medical perspectives.
An attorney needs to know a great deal of medical information in order to determine whether the medical professional made a mistake. Medical experts are often used in these types of cases.
The person that you sue can also be tricky. There are a number of people involved in individual care at a hospital.
For example, you could get care from the anesthesiologist, a nurse, and a surgeon in a single visit. Determining who actually made the error can take significant research.
Although you can bring a medical malpractice case on your own behalf, it is not advised. Instead, use the skills of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to get you the compensation that you deserve after suffering from a medical error.