Many of us look for healthcare providers to seek recovery from sickness or improving our disabilities that may hinder us to live a normal life. However, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), there has been on average 12,414 cases of medical malpractice annually from the years 2009-2018 in the United States. These cases on average payout a total of $309,908 to the victim of the malpractice, NPDB reports. On this article we will explain, what is a medical malpractice, what constitutes it, and what steps to take if you seek legal action, as well as tips on how to successfully win your claim.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), medical malpractice is any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical field and causes an injury to the patient. On occasions, medical malpractice can be disregarded if in any context someone volunteers to help individuals in an event of an emergency where no trained professional are immediately available, it should be noted that this specific law, “Good Samaritan”, varies from state to state and we encourage you to learn more about it here.
Also Read: Mistakes to Avoid When Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim
How Can I Know Medical Malpractice Has Occurred?
Like stated previously, medical malpractice laws can vary from state to state, and to truly verify if it is a valid claim, there are numerous factors to be considered:
- There must be an obligation – As a first consideration, the doctor, hospital, or health care professional must have had a duty to provide care for the patient. In other words, for the case to be made, there must be a doctor – patient relationship.
- A deviation from standard care – Like any professional field, there are standards, and this must be upheld to provide the best possible outcome for the client, or in this case, patient. If you believe your doctor, hospital or health care professional has not provided a qualified and acceptable treatment, you may have grounds to accuse them of negligence, because they may not have adhered to the standard procedure.
- There is/was an injury – As previously stated, to make sure your medical malpractice claim is valid, there must ALSO exist an injury that was a direct cause of not receiving proper and standard care. The patient must be able to prove the injury in question was caused, in fact, by the negligence of the health care professional, doctor or hospital. If there is injury, but standard medical care was provided then there is no case. The same goes for negligence that DID NOT cause injury.
- Injury caused notable consequences – For this factor, it should be noted that the patient must prove how his injuries caused them significant damages, pursuing this case will be worth it if the cost of the damages is higher than the litigation for the case. It’s also important to be able to measure the damages in a quantifiable way.
If you can confirm all these factors listed above, then there is a strong possibility you can file a lawsuit for medical malpractice and you should seek for legal assistance to start building your case and get compensated for all the damages you have ensued.
Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims
In this section we have compiled a detailed list of medical malpractice cases with most occurrences:
- Misdiagnosis: When the patient is diagnosed with a disease or condition they do not have.
- Medication Errors: When the patient undergoes unnecessary treatment that can be harmful, or even worse, deadly.
- Failure to diagnose or provide treatment: This occurs when the health professional fails to recognize the symptoms that might indicate a serious condition, therefore, does not provide the proper care.
- Premature discharge: Whenever a patient is released early from his treatment or observation that may result in a serious injury to the patient.
- Infections: When any treatment from hospital, doctors, or health care professional cause an infected state within an injury, this can result from using contaminated medical tools or not keeping their stations properly disinfected.
A daunting statistic from a study by John Hopkins University reads that around 250,000 people in the United States die every year from medical errors and negligence, which positions medical malpractice in third place on death cause. These are all common examples of medical malpractice that can have grounds for filing a lawsuit.
Steps to Take
Filing a medical malpractice might be confusing initially, however, with the help of legal experts this process should be simple. Here are the first few steps you should consider taking:
- Consult with a legal expert about your case. This might help you ensure you have an actual case worthy of a lawsuit, as mentioned previously this process can be time-consuming and costly, so it’s best to make sure a payout can be achieved.
- File a lawsuit in a court of law. If you hire an attorney, you have the option to give him a representation letter so he can act on your behalf and in your best interests.
- Prepare your evidence. Every single piece of evidence related to the medical malpractice might be the difference between winning or losing the case, it is imperative to keep all documents, files, records, texts, or logs regarding the injury in question, including further treatment.
- Expect to share information between the defendant and yourself. These cases rarely go to trial, most of them settle before having to reach that part, because one party accepts its loss. This will usually end the lawsuit with a settlement between the parties involved, if that’s the case, this is as far as your steps go.
- Be ready to present your case with your lawyer and experts of the standard care that should have taken place.
If you have been a victim of medical malpractice in California, you’re going to need legal expert from a good lawyer, so feel free to consult with our top-notch attorneys at Mendez & Sanchez who specialize in this subject and can provide a FREE consultation regarding your case. The best part of our service, aside from a team of confident and professional lawyers, is that you don’t pay us nothing if we don’t win your case. We hope you find this article useful and that it leads you to the correct path to take when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Who can I sue regarding medical malpractice?
R. Doctors are the common target of medical malpractice lawsuits; however, it is possible to file a claim against medical institutions, nurses, or other hospital staff.
Do I need a lawyer for a medical malpractice case?
R. In short, No. However, we strongly advice you to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer, especially a professional one who has been tried and tested in this field. Medical malpractice cases can be very tricky, and you could not be receiving the proper compensation for your case, or none at all.
As a legal professional, what tips can you give regarding medical malpractice?
R. Read as much as you can regarding medical malpractice, share your case with a trained legal professional so you can receive proper guidance, take care of the evidence as it will be the determining factor on whether you receive compensation.