People tend to think that you have a medical malpractice lawsuit if your doctor makes a mistake while treating you. This can be true, but is not always the case. When you find yourself as the victim of medical malpractice, it can be serious. How can you tell if you have a medical malpractice case?
Determining Medical Malpractice
The key factors in determining medical malpractice are:
- Proving that a doctor or other medical professional made a mistake; AND
- Proving that you were harmed by that mistake
Usually, any malpractice case is a long and complicated legal matter because it’s not always fast or easy to prove these two things.
Standard of Care
The mistake or omission can happen at any time during medical treatment. For example, your doctor may make a mistake diagnosing your illness, or she may not give you the proper treatment or medication for that illness. The key here is the standard of care. This is the generally accepted method or methods used by other medical professionals in the area to treat or care for patients under the same or similar circumstances.
If you can prove your doctor didn’t follow or “breached” the standard of care for your particular medical problem, you’ve made a big first step in making a good medical malpractice claim.
Injury & Damage
It’s not enough that your doctor made some sort of mistake. Before you can file a lawsuit, you have to be able to show that the mistake caused you damage or further harm. The amputation of the wrong limb, brain damage after an operation, a medical condition or disease got worse after treatment, or even death are good examples of injuries or damage. In short, unless you’ve been harmed, there’s no medical malpractice case.
You also have to prove that the injury is connected to the negligence. This is called causation, meaning your damage or harm was caused by the doctor’s mistake. This may be the most difficult part of any medical malpractice case. As a general rule, you’ll need at least one expert witness to explain how the mistake caused your injury. These expert witnesses are almost always other doctors or medical professionals.
Contact an Attorney
Don’t let the potential costs and complexity scare you away from a case. If you’ve been injured by a medical professional’s mistake or failure to act, talk to an attorney to see if you have a good case. Not only can you get money or “damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, but you can help make sure the same mistake doesn’t happen to another patient.
Contact: The Law Offices of Dussault & Zatir