Medical malpractice refers to when healthcare professionals breach their duty of care to a patient, leading to injury or even death. It is important to note that just because you were not happy with a doctor’s care, a treatment method did not work, or something went wrong does not mean that you were victim to medical malpractice. Medical malpractice cases are complex, and it can be difficult to determine whether or not you have a solid case.
Here is what you need to know about common types of medical malpractice cases, the 4 essential elements that you need for a medical malpractice case, and the factors that can impact your case. If you suspect you have been victim to medical malpractice, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney to review your case with you. They will be able to tell you whether or not your case qualifies as medical malpractice and what your options are.
Common Types Of Medical Malpractice
Doctors and other medical professionals can make mistakes, the same as any other professional in their line of work. However, in order to have a medical malpractice case, the mistake must have fallen beneath the appropriate level of care and you must have been injured as a direct result of the mistake.
- Failure to treat
- Incorrect treatment
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia errors
Medicine is a complicated field. Even when a doctor provides the highest standard of care and does everything in their power to help a patient, a patient can still suffer injury or even death. However, sometimes medical professionals can be negligent, which can cause you to suffer serious consequences. If this occurs, you may seek to file a medical malpractice case.
Signs You May Have Suffered Medical Malpractice
You may have been victim to medical malpractice if:
- Your loved one died after seeing a medical professional.
- The facility was understaffed.
- There was a lack of informed consent.
- You suffered new symptoms.
- Fault was admitted.
These can all be indicators of a medical malpractice case, but they do not necessarily prove it. For instance, if you suffer new symptoms after receiving treatment, this could be because of a condition worsening in spite of appropriate levels of care, rather than because of misdiagnosis or improper treatment.
4 Essential Elements Of Medical Malpractice Cases
In order to avoid frivolous lawsuits, as can often occur when patients are unhappy with the treatment they received, medical malpractice cases must have the following 4 elements.
- Duty of care. There must be a doctor-patient relationship in place. This can be easily proven with medical records. You cannot hold a doctor liable if it cannot be proven that they had a doctor-patient relationship with you. Once you enter into a doctor’s care, said doctor has the duty to provide you with the most logical treatment possible.
- Breach of duty. The medical professional must have been negligent in their care. If another competent doctor would not have done what they did in a similar situation, this can breach their duty of care. Proving how a provider breached their duty of care is essential to any medical malpractice case.
- Causation. The actions of the medical professional must have caused you injury or damage. There must be a direct link between the doctor’s actions and the harm you suffered.
- Damages. Finally, it must be proven that you have suffered damages, such as injury, loss of wages, or other expenses as a result of the doctor’s actions. These can be special damages, general damages, or punitive damages.
Proving Medical Malpractice
If you do not have training in either the medical or legal fields, it can be challenging to know whether or not you have a medical malpractice case. This is especially true when the damages are not immediately apparent, but take time to manifest, as it can then be difficult to prove your damages are the result of medical malpractice.
Some of the factors that can impact medical malpractice cases include:
- Whether or not your damages were because of an avoidable mistake
- Assessing the extent of your damages
- How long it takes said damages to manifest
- Whether or not medical providers disclose errors
To prove medical malpractice, you need to show that the medical provider was negligent and did not meet appropriate standards of care. Said negligence must have caused you damages.
Because medical malpractice cases can be so complicated, it is important to have a skilled attorney on your side to fight for you. LeBaron & Jensen provides experienced legal services for personal injury cases, including medical malpractice cases, such as traumatic brain injuries and wrongful death. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case consultation and let us help you attain justice.