Featured News 2016 Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Medical malpractice, also referred to as "medical negligence" is where a healthcare professional, such as a doctor, surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurse, or even a dentist provides poor quality care and the patient is injured or killed as a result.

While the medical profession is typically held in the highest regard, it is not fallible. Healthcare professionals are human just like everyone else and are therefore prone to making mistakes.

Unfortunately, medical errors, such as a delayed cancer diagnoses, a surgical error, or a misdiagnoses in the emergency room, or an accidental overdose of a drug can lead to permanent, if not life-threatening injuries in patients – and sadly it happens each and every day in hospitals across America.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim

Medicine is not perfect; just because a patient had a poor outcome, it does not mean that he or she has a valid medical malpractice claim. For a patient to have a valid claim that will stand in court, certain elements must exist. For instance, the doctor must have acted negligently and his negligence must have caused the patient's injuries.

Elements of a medical malpractice claim:

1. You had a doctor-patient relationship: You must be able to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed and this is not difficult to do. You cannot sue a doctor who gave you medical advice at the grocery store or a PTA meeting. The doctor must have been treating you. For example, if you had an appointment with the doctor and treated you, then a doctor-patient relationship existed.

2. The doctor was negligent: Just because your health took a downturn, or you were not better after a surgery, it does not mean your doctor was negligent. You must be able to show that your doctor was careless, reckless, or negligent, and that he did something worse than another doctor in the same field of medicine would have done if they had the same set of circumstances.

3. You were injured because of the negligence: It's not enough for your doctor to have been negligent, you must have been injured as a result of the negligence. For example, if you suspected cancer and your doctor ignored your complaints and failed to refer you to an oncologist, and the disease progressed to advanced stages because it was not diagnosed, you can say that you were injured because the cancer was not caught in its early stages.

4. You have sustained damages: Even if it's clear that the doctor was negligent, if the patient didn't suffer any damages, they wouldn't have a medical malpractice claim. "Damages" include physical pain, emotional suffering, lost income, and additional medical bills.

To find out if you have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact a medical malpractice attorney right away to ensure you don't miss your state's deadline for filing a claim.

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