Consulting a doctor regularly is an investment for your health. Regular consultations with your health care provider allow early detection and treatment to avoid further complications. When you seek medical advice from a doctor or any health care professional, you tend to fully trust them without any doubt. You believe in their knowledge and skills as medical experts. However, there are some instances wherein the doctors neglect to carry out their duty of care. As patients, you might have to exercise your legal rights by filing medical negligence cases against accountable healthcare providers.
While there is no such thing as “perfect” service in the field of medicine, all doctors and medical professionals are expected to carry out their duties without deviating from the standard of care. They are required to be “reasonably skillful and careful” while treating patients. In most states, a patient seeks assistance from a medical expert to verify the medical standards that the defendant has deviated from.
Medical malpractice happens when an incompetent doctor or a medical professional causes harm, serious injury, or wrongful death to a patient because of medical negligence. It may be caused by medical mistakes, substandard care, misdiagnosis, medication errors, unnecessary surgeries or surgical errors, and other improper medical treatment methods. It occurs when a healthcare provider fails to perform his or her medical duties properly.
A doctor cannot be easily sued by a patient just because they are unsatisfied with how they were treated. The patient can sue the medical provider if the injury inflicted on them has led to serious damages such as physical pain, mental disturbance, distress, brain injuries, increase in medical expenses, lost wages, and lost career. There are certain malpractice laws that you need to follow when you file a medical negligence case. The medical malpractice law may differ from state to state.
When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor or a health care professional, the first thing that you need to do is to prove the occurrence of medical malpractice. You need to verify the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. This means that the patient had voluntarily consulted the doctor and the doctor willingly agreed to consult. You can file a medical malpractice lawsuit only if there is a direct interaction between the patient and the treating doctor.
The next step is to prove the negligence or malpractice of the doctor. You need to confirm that the doctor had caused harm to the patient through negligent care, delayed treatment, or medical errors. This may be supported by complete medical records including laboratory tests and radiology procedures.
There must be sufficient evidence proving that the negligence of the doctor has caused harm to the patient. This might be difficult to prove since most of the patients involved in these cases have a pre-existing medical condition before the malpractice incident. For instance, if a cancer patient dies after the treatment, and there was no evident mistake done by the doctor, it will be difficult to prove whether there was a medical error from the doctor’s side that caused the death. In this case, you need to seek help from a medical expert to verify whether the doctor’s malpractice was the real cause of the patient’s wrongful death.
There are different types of medical malpractice. The first type of medical malpractice is the doctor’s failure to diagnose. If the doctor has made the right diagnosis and treatment, then a malpractice lawsuit is improbable.
After making the correct diagnosis, the doctor needs to select the proper plan of treatment. Improper administration of any treatment method will be a ground for a malpractice case. Even if the doctor has chosen the best treatment option, as long as it is administered incorrectly, it will still be considered malpractice.
One of the responsibilities of a competent doctor is to inform the patient of any possible risks before starting any treatment course or medical procedure. It is also called the duty of informed consent. For instance, a doctor suggests surgery to the patient without giving a warning about all the known side effects and risks. If the patient underwent the procedure and obtained any injury relevant to the known risks, then it is a case of medical malpractice. The doctor should clearly explain all the possible risks that may happen to the patient before starting any treatment.
All medical malpractice cases must be filed as soon as possible. Each state has its statutes of limitations to be followed. Ideally, it must be filed between six months up to two years and the date to be considered will either be the incident date or the date when the patient has discovered serious injuries.
Most of the states require patients to submit medical malpractice claims to a special medical malpractice review panel. The members of the panel will review evidence, listen to testimonies and arguments, and will make a decision on whether the incident will be considered malpractice. During the review proceedings, a qualified expert in the specific field at issue shall give expert testimony and evaluate the case before taking it to the court for trial.
The medical professional at fault should be held liable for any negligent act that caused harm to the patient. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may take time and effort but once you succeed, it will all be worth it. You need an attorney to guide you throughout the process. Our reliable malpractice lawyers from Farmer & Wright PLLC are always ready to offer legal help in filing a malpractice lawsuit. Call 270 387 1414 for a case evaluation.