Basics of medical malpractice laws that determine the feasibility of filing a medical negligence case

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Some medical malpractices amount to personal injury, and the sufferer can file a lawsuit for claiming compensation due to medical negligence. If a doctor misdiagnoses a disease that results in wrong treatment, it is one kind of professional malpractice. Again, if a surgeon performs surgery at the wrong site or as reported recently that a surgeon removed the kidneys of a patient by mistaking it as a tumor are glaring examples of medical negligence. Similar are the cases of drug errors that doctors commit very often. In all these cases, the patient undergoes pain and suffering for some mistake on the part of doctors and if you Ask4SAM injury lawyer, they would advise filing a personal injury lawsuit to claim compensation for damages.

Lawsuits for medical negligence can charge hospitals, doctors, nurses, EMTs, or any other medical professionals involved in the process that caused injury to the patient. Besides physical injury, the mental trauma associated with it forms a part of the damages. Medical malpractice is just like any other professional malpractice, and the law comes into force only when an individual receives injuries as explained above during the process of receiving some medical care of medical treatment.

To get the compensation in any medical malpractice, you must be aware of medical malpractices by gathering knowledge about it and know how to lodge a claim by proving it. Medical negligence is the most common form of medical malpractice that we usually experience. It happens when the doctor or any other medical professional responsible for providing medical care fails to perform his or her duty competently.

Since the rules about medical practices vary between States, in this article we will discuss the broad categories of rules applicable to most medical malpractice cases. Keep reading to get an overview of the laws and regulations.

Claim requirements

In the court of law, you must prove comprehensively that medical malpractice has occurred for which you must be able to establish a few facts that demonstrate that there was a professional relationship between the doctor and patient, the doctor was negligent, and the injury resulted in damages.

  • Doctor-patient relationship – The primary requirement to file a claim for damages is to establish that there was a professional relationship between the doctor and patient in which the patient approached the doctor for treating him or her, and the doctor agreed to it. Only when the doctor examines the patient and initiates treatment that you can establish the relationship. The question of relationship arises mostly for consulting doctors not directly treating the patient. Similarly, you cannot sue a doctor who has offered some casual advice without any professional engagement.
  • Doctor’s negligence – Your feelings about poor treatment or unsatisfactory results does not make a case for medical malpractice. It is necessary to prove that the doctor was negligent with respect to the diagnosis or treatment. To build a case for medical negligence or malpractice against the doctor, you must be able to establish that the doctor harmed you in some way that any other competent doctor would not have done under similar circumstances. Medical malpractice claim must adequately establish the fact that the doctor was not reasonably skillful and careful as deemed necessary to carry out adequate medical treatment.
  • The injury caused due to doctor’s negligence – Doctors treating patients with prior injuries compound the problem of patients to establish that the doctor’s negligence caused some injury. The question arises about how much the doctor is responsible for causing harm to the patient.   If a patient suffering from some heart disease dies, then even if the doctor made some mistake in the treatment it is hard to distinguish if the death happened due to the disease or was a result of the doctor being negligent.
  • The link between injury and specific damages – Unless there is a direct link between the lapse on the part of the doctor and the harm caused by it is not possible to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice even if the doctor has underperformed. Only when the acts of the doctor cause injury that results in pain and suffering like mental anguish, additional medical expenses and loss of earning capacity by losing work that it becomes a case fit for suing the doctor for medical malpractice.

Types of common medical malpractices

Medical malpractices can be of so many kinds that it is difficult to make a list. However, all medical practices that can result in claims for compensation fall under one of these categories.

Inability to diagnose – If the doctor treating the patient fails to make a proper diagnosis of the illness and starts some wrong treatment it can become a case for medical negligence but with a condition. The patient must feel and be able to establish that some other competent doctor would have made a different diagnosis with a positive outcome.

Improper treatment – Doctors must follow set treatment protocols for specific diseases, but there are cases when the doctor misdiagnoses the conditions and start wrong treatment that no competent doctor would have done. Also, it might happen that despite diagnosing the disease correctly and even selecting the right treatment the doctor fails to administer it competently and hence could face a case of medical negligence.

Failure to caution patients of known risks – Duty of informed consent is a professional protocol that doctors must follow. It stipulates that doctors must share with the patient all information about the dangers known to them that are associated with the medical procedure or treatment. Making the patients aware of the possible risks helps them to take a well- informed decision. It may happen that they would not like to undergo the procedure or treatment at all. If the doctor fails to share the information with the patient and the treatment or medical procedure results in injury to the patient, it becomes a fit case for filing claim for compensation.

The above information should help you to decide the merit of your case and take the right decision about filing a lawsuit against the erring medical professionals.

January 10, 2019 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: News