Many patients who experience negative outcomes after medical treatment question whether their case constitutes malpractice. But what is medical malpractice? Medical malpractice is a type of civil tort, or wrongdoing, that occurs when four conditions are present:
- A doctor or health care provider has a professional duty of care to a patient;
- The provider breaches his or her duty of care;
- As a result of this breach, the patient suffers an injury; and
- Damages occur as a result of the patient’s injury.
Victims of medical malpractice are eligible for fair compensation to pay for their damages. A medical malpractice lawyer from Newsome Melton can fight for your rights as a patient and help you win the compensation you deserve.
To set up a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team, call Newsome Melton today at 1-855-MED-ASKS.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
To determine if a doctor’s actions constitute medical malpractice, we must frame them in the context of the four criteria listed above.
Did the Medical Provider Owe a Duty of Care to the Patient?
This is perhaps the easiest criteria to satisfy when trying to prove that medical malpractice occurred. If a doctor-patient relationship existed between the provider and the patient, then a duty of care was in force.
Even if the provider in question was not a doctor—perhaps it was a nurse, facility owner, or pharmacist—if there is evidence of a professional relationship of a medical nature, the provider likely had a duty of care to the patient.
Did the Medical Provider Breach His or Her Duty of Care to the Patient?
When we determine if a health care provider breached their duty to a patient, we use the “reasonable person” standard. In other words, would another reasonable doctor or medical professional—one with the same knowledge and training—have taken the same course of action, or would they have provided a higher level of care?
Did the Patient Suffer Injury Due to the Provider’s Breach of Care?
Meeting this criterion requires not only proving that an injury occurred, but also drawing a conclusive cause-and-effect link between the provider’s actions and the patient’s injuries. In other words, just because a patient suffered pain and discomfort after a procedure does not in itself demonstrate that the doctor’s actions were responsible. By presenting medical evidence and statements from physicians and other experts, we can tie your injuries to your doctor’s actions or inactions.
Did the Patient’s Injury Result in Economic or Non-Economic Damages?
This refers to the damages that arise from an injury due to medical malpractice. To prove damages, we can present medical bills, show where you have had to miss work to recover from your injuries, and make a case that your pain and suffering and your emotional anguish also justify compensation.
What Are Economic and Non-Economic Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case?
The damages that occur from a medical malpractice injury can be both economic and non-economic.
Economic damages refer to losses with dollar values, such as medical bills for treating an injury or lost income from the patient having to miss work while recovering.
Non-economic damages refer to more subjective losses, such as the loss of enjoyment of life while suffering the effects of a medical malpractice injury.
At Newsome Melton, our medical malpractice attorneys fight for both economic and non-economic damages. We understand the subjectivity of non-economic losses, which is why we take extra care to pursue these damages aggressively with thorough and compelling evidence. We want to help you win the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Do Medical Malpractice Laws Apply to Good Samaritans Who Provide Medical Care, Such as CPR?
In some states, Good Samaritans are exempt from medical malpractice laws, as they lack an existing doctor-patient relationship and have no duty of care to the other party. However, every case is different. Certain states, for instance, impose a basic duty upon bystanders. You should speak with a medical malpractice attorney about your specific situation.
How Can I Speak to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer About My Case?
The attorneys at Newsome Melton focus on medical malpractice and can answer any additional questions you have about the subject. We offer free case evaluations to new clients. You can meet with our team members face to face to discuss your case. To schedule an appointment today, call our office at 1-855-MED-ASKS.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Expert Testimony Required for a Medical Malpractice Case?
- Is Failure to Warn a Patient of Known Risks a Form of Medical Malpractice?
- Can You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against Someone Other Than a Doctor?
- Are There Limits on Damage Awards for Medical Malpractice?
- Can A Person Recover from Locked-In Syndrome or Is It Reversible?