The Components of a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice is a particularly complicated area of law. A doctor’s error can easily result in pain and suffering, additional medical bills, emotional anguish, or injuries that have a drastic impact on the quality of the patient’s life. Each and every medical malpractice case is unique, but there are very specific criteria all malpractice cases need to meet:
The Doctor Was Negligent
One of the most important things to prove in a medical malpractice case is that the doctor’s diagnosis or treatment failed to meet the accepted medical standard of care. This means the mistake has to be something that a competent medical professional with the same level of training would not have made while working under similar circumstances.
This is a very important part of any medical malpractice case. Since it’s very common for illnesses and diseases to have symptoms similar to that of another illness, it’s not necessarily malpractice if a doctor doesn’t arrive at a correct diagnosis on the first visit or if they don’t recommend the most effective form of treatment right off the bat. However, things like a doctor operating on the wrong site or failing to properly monitor vital signs are very typically considered malpractice.
The Injury Was Directly Caused by the Doctor’s Negligence
In medical malpractice cases, the injuries you have suffered need to have been directly caused by the doctor’s negligence. For example, if a doctor neglects to screen a patient for cancer when another doctor would have reasonably believed the patient has cancer, preventing the patient from seeking treatment in a timely manner and allowing the cancer to become more advanced, that’s more likely to be seen as medical malpractice.
The Injury Caused Certain Damages
Even if a doctor’s actions failed to meet the accepted medical standard of care, their actions need to have resulted in specific damages for the patient. This can include pain and suffering, additional medical bills, and lost wages from work.
A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed
For a medical malpractice case to be successful, it’s essential for an official doctor-patient relationship to exist. Medical malpractice cases cannot be brought against a friend or acquaintance who recommended a home remedy that didn’t work, nor can they be brought based on advice a person found on a website like WebMD or heard on television.
If you believe you might have a medical malpractice case, be sure to contact an attorney right away. Many states have a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, meaning you may have a limited amount of time to file your case.