What To Do If You Have a Medical Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice in surgery at hospital

Are you a victim of medical malpractice?

Most would agree that disease, diagnosis, and treatment are complicated things and better left to the experts. However, statistics and human experiences point towards a rather disturbing trend – the experts can make questionable decisions (or fail to make the obvious ones), leading to disastrous consequences for the patient. A study by Johns Hopkins University states that more than 250,000 people die annually from medical malpractice in the US.

It is not without reason that medical malpractice suits have been in the limelight from time to time. The reasons are numerous – massive settlements, harrowing accounts of patients left dead, paralyzed, or severely impaired, and of course, the cases of celebrities being victims (Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol, Hulk Hogan, among others).

A study by Johns Hopkins University states that more than 250,000 people die annually from medical negligence in the US.

How would you know if you have a case?

Lack of legal knowledge should not keep you from considering your legal options if you think you have suffered due to your doctor’s negligent conduct. Here are some basics you may consider before you decide to proceed against a healthcare provider.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Legally speaking, medical malpractice involves professional negligence by a healthcare provider by an act (or omission) such that the care provided is below the acceptable standard of care (as may be applicable in that situation), which leads to injury or death.

Medical malpractice stethoscope of a doctor

Typical Medical Malpractice Cases

Common medical negligence cases include:

  • Failure to provide emergency medical treatment
  • failure to diagnose a disease
  • misdiagnosis of a disease
  • Surgical errors (or surgery on the wrong body part)
  • Complications from medicine or surgery
  • Pregnancy-related injuries to mother or child and
  • Anesthesia errors, etc.

How To Prove Medical Negligence

Proving medical negligence revolves around these 4 key elements:

  1. There was a duty of care
  2. There was a breach of this duty
  3. Such breach caused harm leading to damages (physical, monetary, etc.)
  4. The resultant harm was directly related to the breach

Further, it may be noted that other healthcare professionals (in addition to doctors) who have a professional relationship with the patient (whether directly or indirectly) also have a legal duty to comply with the standard of care, such as radiologists, laboratory technicians, etc.

Which Types of Damages Can You Recover For a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

compensatory damages

Compensatory damages refer to compensation for damages, injury, or another incurred loss of the plaintiff. Compensatory damages can be further divided into “general damages” (non-economic) and “special damages” (economic). Special damages are those costs that can be clearly identified, such as medical expenses. “General damages,” on the other hand, include more subjective aspects of the injury, such as loss of enjoyment of life and mental and physical suffering, and the like.

Punitive Damages

In certain instances, juries have imposed punitive damages as well. These are damages beyond simple compensation and awarded in order to punish the defendant. Note the case of Mr. Navaro, who was awarded $216 million ($100 million of which for punitive damages) for a misdiagnosed stroke, which left him wheelchair-bound.

medical malpractice pills medications

The Statute of Limitations Vary For Medical Malpractice

Several states restrict the time-period within which a medical negligence case can be filed. Therefore, state-specific rules should be adhered to avoid the suit from being dismissed because it was brought up too late.

Finding The Right Lawyer For Your Medical Malpractice Case

Finding the right medical malpractice lawyer should be a priority once you find yourself in such a situation. Trying to file a malpractice claim without a lawyer can prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Search our database of experienced million dollar lawyers to find the best one for your needs. 

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