When you go to see a doctor or other medical professional, you expect that he or she will act with your best interests in mind. But when your healthcare provider fails to follow professional standards and his or her negligence causes you harm, you may need to pursue legal action and seek compensation.
Here’s what you need to know about how a medical mistake is determined to be malpractice, and how you can get legal help now.
When Is It Medical Malpractice?
There are four major legal criteria that test if a situation should be considered medical malpractice. Bear in mind that not all poor patient outcomes are the result of medical malpractice; medicine and the human body both have limitations. Sometimes despite the best efforts of healthcare providers, people still get sicker and pass away. However, if the following conditions are met, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
The first part of medical malpractice is demonstrating that the medical professional had a duty of care to the injured patient. This just means that a formal provider-patient type of relationship must have existed at the time of the injury. If the healthcare provider was not involved in your care, then there’s no basis for a lawsuit.
Once the existence of a duty of care has been established, the duty of care must have been violated by the medical professional. Violating the duty of care means that a care provider must have acted using a level of skill and care below what a medical professional with equivalent training or education in the same field would be expected to use. A reasonable surgeon would be expected to remove all instruments from the patient’s body, for example. Therefore, a surgeon who leaves a foreign object inside a patient may be considered to have violated a duty of care. The surgeon could then be said to be negligent. Negligence forms the basis of all medical malpractice claims.
The next part of a medical malpractice case is showing that the medical professional’s negligence lead to the patient’s injury. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose an illness that any other reasonably competent doctor should have diagnosed in the same situation, and the patient’s health suffers as a result of delayed treatment, improper treatment, or no treatment at all, it may be grounds for a medical malpractice case.
The final component of any medical malpractice suit is showing that the injury resulted in specific damages that may be compensated for by a court of law. This may include:
- The costs of all medical bills related to the injury, including future care.
- Physical and mental pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment.
- Lost time at work and earning capacity.
Other damages may be available depending on the details of your case. Your attorney can provide more information about damage that you may be able to pursue.
Are Doctors the Only Professionals Who Can Be Found Negligent?
One of the most common question is whether doctors are the only healthcare providers capable of negligence. The fact is that any medical professional or institution with a duty of care to patients may be found negligent in a medical malpractice suit. This includes:
- Physicians and physician’s assistants
- Surgeons and other specialists
- Nurses and nursing assistants
- Laboratory technicians and other allied healthcare professionals
- Hospitals, clinics, urgent care centers, nursing homes, and other care facilities
In a medical malpractice suit, it’s important that everyone responsible for your injury be held accountable. Your attorney will help you determine what parties may be responsible so that you can seek the full compensation that you’re owed.
Get Legal Help for Medical Malpractice Today
If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you. We’ve spent decades fighting for the rights of patients who have been harmed due to the negligence of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, and we’d like to help you, too. Call us by phone, click the live chat box, or use our contact form to send an email and get a free, no-obligation consultation with a legal professional about your situation.