These complex cases can be some of the most involved legal proceedings one might ever experience.
To bring a negligence claim against a doctor, nurse, or hospital, you must demonstrate that they owed you a duty of care and violated it. Much of this involves showing that they deviated from a current acceptable standard of care.
Duty of Care
There are a variety of situations in which it may be appropriate to seek the counsel of a medical malpractice attorney. No healthcare provider can be expected to act perfectly, but they owe their patients a duty of care. This means that they must act at a level of skill, quality, and diligence that would be exhibited by other medical professionals under the same or similar circumstances.
When a medical professional fails to meet this standard of care and their negligent actions directly cause injury or death to a patient, they have committed malpractice. Malpractice differs from negligence in that the medical professional knew their activity could be harmful but went ahead anyway.
In the case of a medical mistake, a malpractice lawyer will review the facts of your situation to determine whether you have a strong claim. They will also need to perform a medical evaluation of your injuries and consult with experts to build the most robust possible case for you.
Medical malpractice cases are expensive and time-consuming to litigate. To win your case, your lawyer must prove that the breach of your doctor’s duty caused you significant injury and financial losses. Typically, this includes your medical bills, lost income, physical pain and suffering, and mental distress. Your attorney must establish the extent of these damages and how much money you deserve.
Breach of Duty
Medical professionals are expected to adhere to a particular standard of care for patients. When doctors fail to meet this standard, it can result in injury or illness for the patient. This is a breach of duty and one of the four essential elements of negligence.
To establish that malpractice occurred, a medical malpractice attorney must prove that the defendant had a duty to act in a manner consistent with established medical standards. This is often demonstrated through expert testimony from other physicians with similar skills, training, and certification as the alleged negligent doctor.
The following essential element in a medical malpractice case is demonstrating that the breach of duty caused actual harm to the plaintiff. This can be difficult to prove as many medical injuries are not immediately apparent but can worsen over time. This includes physical and emotional harm, financial costs from lost income, increased expenses for medical care, and more. An experienced attorney can help determine the appropriate damage level to seek in your case.
Each year billions of dollars are paid in medical malpractice settlements. Malpractice claims arise from acts or omissions that deviate from standards in the medical profession and cause injury to a patient. This can be due to improper diagnosis, surgical errors, and failure to follow up on a diagnosed condition.
A medical malpractice attorney can help patients obtain the compensation they deserve for past, present, and future losses from medical negligence. This can include monetary compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and emotional distress.
Medical malpractice cases are typically filed and tried in state courts with a judge and jury panel that hears the case. Medical malpractice cases may be transferred to federal court for trial in limited circumstances.
Before a case can proceed to trial, the plaintiff must gather information, including medical records, witness testimony, and expert opinion. The medical malpractice attorney will review these and conduct “on the record” interviews, known as depositions, with the injured patient, the physician or health care provider alleged to be negligent, and other witnesses that can shed light on what happened. This information will be used at a later trial to establish the facts of the case and determine liability for damages.