- Malpractice & Medical Malpractice Law
- Medical malpractice is any instance in which a doctor or healthcare provider deviates from the accepted norms of the profession and causes injury to a patient as a result. The accepted norms of behavior in any given situation depend on how a reasonable professional with the same training and experience would have acted. If another healthcare professional—who was acting reasonably and possessed the same information and level of training—would have taken a different course of action or provided a higher level of care, the provider could have committed medical malpractice.The attorneys at Medical Malpractice Help have experience in malpractice and medical malpractice law. For a free consultation about your case, call 1-855-MED-ASKS today.
What Does the Law Say About Medical Malpractice?As a general rule of thumb, the plaintiff bringing a medical malpractice claim must prove four “elements”—the legal requirements needed to establish a case. These four requirements typically include:
The Provider Had a Duty of Care to the Patient.To be culpable in a malpractice situation, a provider must have had a duty of care to the patient through a doctor-patient relationship. This duty does not have to be explicitly defined. Any time a medical provider agrees to offer health-related services to a patient, they have established a duty of care.
The Doctor Failed to Provide an Acceptable Standard of Care.In other words, the doctor's care did not satisfy the accepted norms of the profession given the situation. If a reasonable professional would have offered a higher level of care than your doctor, you could be the victim of malpractice.
The Patient Suffered Injuries as a Result of the Provider's Substandard Care.The patient and their attorney must be able to establish a clear link that shows a cause-and-effect relationship between the doctor's actions and the patient's injuries. Those injuries can be physical or psychological.
Damages Resulted From the Patient's Injuries.To qualify as malpractice, the patient must have incurred actual damages from their injuries. These damages could be economic, meaning they have dollar values, or they can be non-economic, meaning they are more subjective and not easily quantified. Economic damages include medical bills, lost income from work, and reduced earning capacity. Non-economic damages include emotional anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
What Are the Types of Medical Malpractice?A doctor's actions or inactions do not have to fall under a specific category to be medical malpractice. Liability can result from any situation that meets all of the above criteria. That said, the majority of medical malpractice cases involve one or more of the following situations.
Failure to DiagnoseFailure to diagnose an injury or illness can be a form of medical malpractice. The standard here is that another doctor in the same situation and with the same training most likely would have made the diagnosis.
Improper DiagnosisIf a doctor misdiagnoses a patient with the wrong medical condition, it could also constitute malpractice. This error often results in the patient's actual condition going untreated. Sometimes, complications can arise from the doctor treating the wrong condition. If a doctor makes the wrong diagnosis, but evidence suggests that a reasonable physician would have been able to make the correct diagnosis, malpractice most likely occurred.
Surgical ErrorsSurgical procedures generate more malpractice claims than any other field of medicine. Sometimes these errors occur during the procedure itself, such as performing surgery on the wrong site. In extreme cases, patients have even had the wrong limb amputated. Other surgical errors include not properly prepping a patient and failing to conduct an adequate patient history to identify potential complications.
Inadequate Post-Operative CareA doctor's duty of care to a patient does not end when they send the patient home after a procedure. Many surgeries and other medical procedures require extensive post-operative care. The level of care a patient receives during this period can affect the speed and success of their recovery. If a doctor fails to uphold the standard of care during this period, the patient's recovery could stall, or their overall health could worsen significantly.
How Can I Talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today?The legal team at Medical Malpractice Help wants to help you get answers to any questions you have regarding your case. To set up a time to speak with one of our medical malpractice lawyers for free, call us today at 1-855-MED-ASKS.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
- What Damages Can I Recover in a Medical Malpractice Case?
- Does the Good Samaritan’s Law Protect from Liability If in Non-Medical Facility?
- If I Can Prove That the Defendant Violated the Standard of Care, Does That Mean I Win My Case?
- Do I Have a Case Because My Condition Got Worse Due to My Doctor Failing to Refer Me to a Specialist?
- Why Do Attorneys Turn Down Medical Malpractice Cases?