Generally speaking, you go to the hospital and ask to be examined by a doctor when you’re sick or not feeling well. There’s even an expectation on your part that you’ll get better once medication or treatment is administered to you. However, doctors and other medical professionals are also humans capable of committing mistakes in the course of their duty. This is where medical malpractice enters the picture.
If you believe your doctor and other medical practitioners involved have committed medical malpractice while you’re under their care, then you may be entitled to file a claim and recover compensation for all the damages and losses you’ve incurred.
To better understand this legal matter, keep reading this article to learn the basic guide to handling medical malpractice.
What Is Medical Malpractice
By definition, medical malpractice happens when a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare professional commits a negligent act that causes an injury to a patient. The common examples of medical malpractice can include improper treatment, failure to diagnose, and failure to warn a patient of the possible known risks of a drug or medical procedure such as surgery and the like.
It’s said that for a medical malpractice claim to be considered meritorious and valid by authorities, you should be able to establish the following characteristics:
- Existence of a doctor-patient relationship
It’s important to show that a doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the physician you’re suing to court. You’ll need to show proof that the doctor started seeing you for medical consultation and treating your health conditions.
- Doctor’s negligence
To pursue a medical malpractice case, you should demonstrate that the doctor caused harm or failed to exercise the standard of care required from them as medical professionals. While the doctor’s standard of care isn’t required to be the best at all times, it should be at least reasonably careful and skillful. But, if it’s found out that the standard of care hasn’t been met, then medical negligence may be established.
- Injury caused by the negligence
You should prove that you sustained an injury as a result of the doctor’s negligence. This means the injury wouldn’t have occurred without negligence or it’s the doctor’s incompetence that caused harm to you.
- Damages as a result of the injury
For a medical malpractice case to prosper, you should show that you sustained significant damages as a result of an injury caused by medical malpractice.
As you can see, there are many elements to establish before your medical malpractice case becomes viable. Unless you’re a legal expert by yourself, you need the assistance of a reliable medical malpractice lawyer to help you navigate your case and eventually win and exact justice.
What Are The Basic Rules In Medical Malpractice Cases
Now that you know what medical malpractice is, it’s time to get familiar with some basic rules so you can handle your case more efficiently. These can include:
- The case should be brought soon after the injury
It’s essential to file your medical malpractice case immediately after you sustained an injury to avoid waiving your right to sue against the at-fault party. This time limit is commonly called the statute of limitations. If the case isn’t filed within the required period, the court may more likely dismiss it despite its merits.
- Contacting the doctor involved may be required before pursuing a medical malpractice case
The first step in starting a medical malpractice case is to reach out to the doctor or medical professional who you alleged did you wrong. It’s crucial in understanding what has gone south and allow them to address and correct the problem if they can. Doing this may save you from filing a case in court which is complicated and time-consuming. In some states, you may be required to give special notice to the at-fault party or parties before filing a case in court.
- Special medical malpractice review panels may be needed before filing a case in court
Many states may ask the patient to refer and submit the claim to a special medical malpractice review panel whose job is to hear arguments, expert testimony, and examine the evidence. Although its decision may not replace that of an actual lawsuit, it can be a good starting point if you decide to pursue legal action. That’s because the panel’s findings may be used in court to determine whether a medical malpractice case is valid before it goes to a full-blown trial.
- Expert testimony may be required
Depending on the circumstances of your case, expert testimony should be obtained to prove your claim of medical malpractice against the doctor or other medical professionals. This expert testimony is necessary to prove that the defendant deviated from the standard of care expected from them and an injury wouldn’t have occurred without negligence on their part.
The Bottom Line
Typically, medical malpractice law comes with a complex body of rules, which may vary from one state to another. Therefore, if you believe you’re a victim of medical malpractice, keep this guide in mind so you’ll know how to handle this case more efficiently. Also, don’t forget to hire a lawyer to assist you with the whole process. That way, you can increase your odds of recovering the right amount of compensation for all your damages.