Medical malpractice is when a professional in the medical field fails to provide the most appropriate medical treatment. It is also when the provider fails to take any action that was necessary. Lastly, it is when a medical provider performs an action that results in harm or injury to the patient; it may also lead to the patient’s death.
In order to demonstrate that medical malpractice occurred, you must be able to prove that the following four things are true:
There Was a Doctor-Patient Relationship Between You And The Medical Professional
In order to sue a medical professional for medical malpractice, you must show that you and the medical professional had a doctor-patient relationship. This means that you must have hired the medical professional, and the medical professional must have agreed to be hired by you. Therefore, if you heard a medical professional advising someone else at a party, you cannot sue that medical professional if you followed the advice and were hurt.
Demonstrating that the doctor-patient relationship existed will be easy if you show that you scheduled appointments with the professional, and the professional began to offer his or her advice and treatment. There is often a question of whether or not there is a doctor-patient relationship if the medical professional was acting as a consultant.
The Medical Professional Performed His Or Her Duties Negligently
The fact that you aren’t happy with your medical provider’s treatment doesn’t mean that medical malpractice occurred. The physician must be shown to be negligent in your treatment or your diagnosis. Therefore, you must demonstrate that your medical professional’s treatment caused injury to you in a manner that would not have occurred had you been a patient of a competent medical professional in similar circumstances.
Your physician is not required to be the best possible; he or she is only required to be “reasonably skillful and careful.” This will be the beginning of your medical malpractice claim. In most states, a medical expert will be required to testify that your medical professional did not provide the appropriate medical standard of care. In addition to that, the expert must explain to the jury how the medical professional failed to live up to that standard.
The Injury Is the Result Of The Medical Professional’s Negligence
In many cases, patients were injured or sick before they experienced harm in a medical setting even though the medical professional may or may not have acted in a negligent manner. For example, a patient may die of ovarian cancer after a medical professional does something negligent, but it would be extremely hard to prove that the negligence is the cause of the death and not the cancer. Therefore, you are required to demonstrate that the cause of the injury “is more likely than not” the medical professional’s incompetence. This often requires a medical expert to testify to the fact that the injury is the direct result of the medical professional’s negligence.
The Injury Resulted In Specific Damages
The medical professional may have performed his or her duties in a substandard manner, but if the patient did not experience any harm, he or she cannot sue the medical professional for medical malpractice. The harm or injury that you can sue for includes the loss of wages or earning capacity, additional medical bills, mental anguish, and physical pain.
What Types of Damages Can a Plaintiff Receive?
A plaintiff may be entitled to receive punitive damages or compensatory damages.
The defendant would need to be found guilty of malicious or willful misconduct for you to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are used as a way to punish the defendant and compensate you in addition to the compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages are your economic damages, and along with the damages listed above, they can include life care expenses and past and future medical bills.
In addition to economic damages, compensatory damages can include non-economic damages. These include pain and suffering, psychological pain, the loss of use of a body part, and extreme pain.
The Types of Malpractice
The following examples of negligence or error can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit:
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Potentially fatal infections acquired in the hospital
- Persistent pain after a surgery
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part
- Leaving objects in the patient’s body after surgery
- Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
- Not following up with the patient
- Failing to order appropriate tests
- Failing to act on the results of tests
- Discharging a patient prematurely
- Performing the wrong surgery
- Performing a surgery that isn’t needed
- Misdiagnosing an illness
- Failing to diagnose an illness
The Duty of Informed Consent
Medical professionals must operate under the duty of informed consent. This means that they must inform their patients of the known risks that are related to a procedure. If the medical professional fails to inform a patient of the known risks, he or she could be found guilty of medical malpractice. For example, you may have decided not to have the procedure if you had known about the risks. Also, the medical professional may be accused of malpractice when nothing went wrong during the procedure. This can occur if the patient did not give informed consent first.
What Are the Special Requirements in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
The statute of limitations is the period of time that you have to file a medical malpractice claim. In California, the statute of limitations requires filing the lawsuit within one year from the discovery of the injury by the patient through the use of reasonable diligence or within three years of the date of the injury, whichever comes first.. If you fail to file your lawsuit within this period of time, the judge will throw out your lawsuit even if it has merit.
The Dash Injury Law Firm can represent you in a medical malpractice claim for a brain injury, spinal cord injury, birth injury, burn injury, or wrongful death. Our staff makes a point of nurturing relationships between us so that we can make sure that you receive the maximum compensation possible. Contact us for a consultation today.