Have you seen a show on TV where a doctor wrongfully killed a patient during an operation? And the family sues the doctor responsible for the failed treatment? That’s an example of a medical malpractice lawsuit. First, what is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider or professional such as doctors and nurses fail to provide proper treatment or omits an appropriate action causing injury, harm, or death to a patient.
The malpractice or negligence could be an error in medication dosage, diagnosis, health management, treatment, or surgical operation.
If this happened to you, it would be best to find a professional lawyer expert handling medical malpractice lawsuits. Your lawyer will help you receive proper and fair compensation for all the damages you have suffered. But first, did you know that negligence isn’t automatically considered malpractice?
When Is Negligence Becomes A Malpractice?
Medical negligence is a fault theory and a source of medical malpractice. Not all negligence is a case for medical malpractice, but all malpractice can be rooted in negligence. According to experts, for medical negligence to be malpractice the following legal elements must be proven:
- If there’s a professional duty owed to a patient
- If there’s a breach of duty
- If there’s an injury caused by the breach
- If there are resulting damages
The law also includes the idea that they could have done something to prevent the harm from occurring, but they didn’t do anything. This is called an act or omission of negligence.
If you’re just dissatisfied with the result of the treatment or operation, it couldn’t be considered malpractice. It should prove the four legal elements stated above before it is considered malpractice.
If you need help regarding your malpractice lawsuit, see this page.
Here are examples of medical error or negligence that has the potential to become malpractice:
- Disease misdiagnosis or failure to correctly diagnose a patient’s disease.
- Unnecessary or improper surgical operation. Remember, a failed operation doesn’t equate to negligence, let alone malpractice.
- Early or premature discharge of a patient.
- Giving wrong prescription or wrong dosage of a medication.
- Operating on the wrong side of the body or organ.
- Deadly infections were acquired at the hospital’s premises.
- Leaving potentially deadly objects inside the patient’s body after a surgery.
- Disregarding the patient’s medical history, which contains previous medications, surgery, or possible allergies.
What Is An Informed Consent?
Informed consent is when a patient doesn’t give permission to receive a specific medical treatment. However, the doctor still proceeds to give the treatment or surgery. This calls for medical negligence that may likely result in malpractice. Even if the medical procedure were carried out perfectly without a single error, the doctor or the healthcare facility would still be held liable.
For example, if the doctor doesn’t inform the patient that the surgery has only a 10 percent chance of saving a broken arm, and the patient loses an arm, the doctor will be held liable for the damages. It’s because the doctor failed to let the patient exercise their right to refuse the procedure, even if the surgery was done perfectly.
What Does A Malpractice Lawsuit Consists Of?
A malpractice lawsuit consists of the following:
• Plaintiff: This is the person who complained or initiated a lawsuit. This could be the patient themselves, a legal representative of the patient, a family member, or a friend of the patient who may act on their behalf if they died.
• Defendant: This is someone, party, or organization being sued. It could be anyone involved in the healthcare treatment, even if they’re only following the doctor’s orders, they’re still liable.
• Fact-finding committee: This can be the judge or the jury depending on the nature of the case.
Why Take It To Court Immediately After The Injury?
This is really important if you want to get a claim for yourself or your loved ones. There’s a legal term called ‘statute of limitations.’ This is an expiration date where the case can be dismissed, and the person liable will never be accused, even if you present strong evidence on the court. The statute depends on which state the malpractice happened, but it’s usually between six months to two years.
For example, malpractice happened to you eight years ago, but you only plan to take the case to court right now. Since you failed to meet the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations, the court can dismiss your case immediately regardless of whatever evidence you might hold.
That’s why it’s crucial to take immediate action to ensure you get what’s right for you and hold whoever is responsible for any damage.
Depending on your case and your case’s timeline, a medical malpractice lawsuit could be a challenging and long battle. Also, a medical lawsuit is governed and regulated by a complex set of laws that may vary from state to state, especially where the accident has occurred.
Moreover, expect that medical lawsuits won’t get approved easily. There’s a panel that will review your complaint through a series of arguments, evidence, and expert testimony before you can say that malpractice has indeed occurred. You can’t take on this complicated process alone.
That’s why it’s essential to have someone with legal expertise on the case to represent you in court. So, ask your professional lawyer and discuss the necessary steps you need to prepare.