What is Medical Malpractice?
All healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, dentists, etc.) and even hospitals are expected to provide a certain standard of care to their patients. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional causes injury or harm to their patient because he or she deviated from the expected level of care for the patient.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice cases can occur during a regular office appointment, surgery, or even through a prescribed medication picked up at your local pharmacy. Hospitals can be held liable for medical malpractice, too. There are many examples of medical malpractice, with some more common than others. Examples of common medical malpractice cases include:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failure to treat
- Wrongful or harmful treatment
- Anesthesia errors
- Medication errors
- Surgical errors
- Injuries during childbirth
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Although common, medical malpractice lawsuits can be extremely complex and confusing. When in doubt, patients should hire an attorney for medical malpractice to help them understand their legal options against the responsible party. By calling 866-465-1419 or filling out the form below, The Law Center can put you in contact with skilled medical malpractice lawyers.
What Makes a Medical Malpractice Case?
According to medical malpractice lawyers, a medical malpractice definition or medical malpractice case must include the following four legal elements:
- The medical or healthcare professional owed a professional duty to the patient.
- There was a violation of such duty.
- Injury was caused because of the violation.
- There were resulting damages.
How Can I Prove Medical Malpractice?
There are a number of factors that determine if the healthcare professional was negligent.
- A relationship existed between the doctor and the patient. The patient must hire the doctor, and the doctor must know he or she was hired.
- The medical professional was, in fact, negligent. Medical malpractice attorneys must prove that harm was caused to the patient in a way that no other skilled professional would have done given the same circumstances.
- The negligence directly caused harm or injury. It must be proven that the direct cause for the harm or injury was bestowed upon the patient by the doctor.
- Damages ensued because of the injury. If the patient didn’t suffer damages, the patient doesn’t have a medical malpractice case on their hands.
Continue reading for more information on what types of damages occur in medical malpractice cases.
Who is Liable in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Any medical professional can be held liable for medical malpractice. In addition to general physicians, this can include doctors who specialize in a particular field—surgeons, anesthesiologists, OBGYNs, as well as nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners and even dentists. The majority of medical professionals in the United States have medical malpractice insurance to protect themselves from medical malpractice claims and lawsuits.
Types of Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
There are three common types of damages associated with medical malpractice cases:
- General Damages
This encompasses damages that relate to physical, mental and emotional suffering, and are usually non-economic, but the loss of future earnings are sometimes considered.
- Special Damages
Entail measurable loss like medical bills and money lost due to missing work.
- Punitive Damages
Exist when the medical professional’s negligence was exceptionally reckless or malicious. For example, intentionally leaving a medical instrument inside the patient’s body during surgery to constitute the need for an additional surgery.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Each state has a specific set of deadlines for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is commonly known as a statute of limitations. In medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations can be hard to understand because there are a number of different segments. A medical malpractice attorney can help patients understand the legal complexities specific to their state.
Finding the Leading Attorneys for Medical Malpractice
When you walk into a medical facility, you expect to be treated with an exceptional amount of care. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you believe you or a loved one are the victim of medical malpractice, seek the guidance of a leading medical malpractice lawyer. If you aren’t sure where to start, The Law Center can help.
How The Law Center Can Help
The Law Center partners with highly-skilled medical malpractice attorneys and medical malpractice law firms across the nation. No matter where you are located, we can help pair you with a leading medical malpractice lawyer who will ensure you know your rights and receive the appropriate compensation for your injuries or illness. Call 866-465-1419 or fill out the form below and we’ll put you in touch with a member of our experienced and resourceful legal network.