Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a negligent act or omission by a doctor or other medical professional results in damage or harm to a patient. Negligence by a medical professional could include an error in a diagnosis, treatment or illness management. If such negligence results in injury to a patient, a case could arise against the doctor if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted standards of practice; against the hospital for improper care, such as problems with medications, sanitation or nursing care; or against local, state or federal agencies that operate hospital facilities.

Medical malpractice laws are designed to protect patients' rights to pursue compensation if they are injured as the result of negligence. However, malpractice suits are often complex and costly to win. While theoretically, you can seek compensation for any injury caused by negligence, regardless of its seriousness, time and money make it unrealistic to sue for an injury that is minor or heals quickly. Therefore, if you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, it is important to consult with an attorney who can help you determine whether your claim is worth pursuing.

Understanding:


In many situations where medical care or treatment is provided to an individual, medical professionals are required to obtain the patient's "informed consent." Although the specific definition of informed consent may vary from state to state, it means essentially that the patient has made a knowing decision about a medical treatment or procedure after a doctor or other health care professional discloses all the information a reasonably prudent medical provider would give to a patient regarding the risks involved in the proposed treatment or procedure. If the health care provider fails to obtain informed consent, the patient may have a legal claim for damages. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you determine whether you have a claim and represent your interests throughout the legal process.

 

Responsible Parties in Medical Malpractice Actions

Medical malpractice is not limited to medical doctors. It applies also to nurses, dentists, osteopaths, health care facilities and others providing health care services, such as nursing homes. If you believe that you have been the victim of malpractice by any health care provider, do not delay in contacting an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

 

Proving Your Case - Causation

To establish a case for medical malpractice, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, that the defendant failed to meet the standard of care owed to the plaintiff, that the mistake actually caused the plaintiff's injury and that the doctor or other medical professional's negligence damaged the plaintiff. Proof of causation can be a difficult issue in a medical malpractice case. For one thing, the injuries generally involved in medical malpractice cases require specific medical training to understand, and the normal plaintiff may not know the cause of such injuries. It is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate your situation and work with experts to prove causation.

 

Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

To establish a case for medical malpractice, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant failed to meet the appropriate standard of care, that the defendant's actions actually caused the plaintiff's injury and that the doctor or other medical professional's negligence damaged the plaintiff. Damages are a critical element of a medical malpractice case, and the plaintiff cannot recover damages for injuries that did not result from the doctor's conduct, and so the plaintiff must establish a causal connection or link between the plaintiff's injury and the doctor's negligence. Generally, there are two types of damages available to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case: compensatory damages and punitive damages. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your situation, determine whether you have a claim, and put together a case for damages.

 

Medical Malpractice Resource Links


US Department of Health and Human Services. Links to National Practitioner Data Bank and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank.

This Web site Features information about patient safety.

Provides information and links about patient safety, tips for patients and other general health information.

The Joint Commission promotes and provides for the delivery of safe, high-quality care through its standards, event database, programs and its National Patient Safety Goals.

 
135,601
- Accidents resulting in
injuries in 2010

Schedule a free consultation

Your information is private and will not be shared without your permission