What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice
Each of us should feel lucky that we live in a time and place in which high-quality medical care is readily available. But what happens when you seek medical treatment and something goes wrong? What if you leave the hospital worse off than you were when you came in?
Though it is a relatively uncommon occurrence, medical professionals can hurt you if they fail to perform their duties properly. In such a situation you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries. These types of cases, known as medical malpractice or medical negligence cases, involve some key issues you need to know about.
Treatment, Mistakes, Negligence, and Standards of Care
Anytime you visit a doctor or health care provider there is a range of possible outcomes. You might, for example, go to the doctor, be properly diagnosed, receive adequate treatment, and come away from the experience as your normal, healthy self. Yet you might also receive treatment and be unhappy with the result, or actually suffer an injury because the doctor did something wrong. So when can you sue for medical malpractice?
The answer depends on a number of factors, but they all boil down to whether or not the doctor breached a medical standard of care. In any given medical situation there will be a level of care or treatment that reasonable, competent medical professionals in similar situations would apply. Negligence occurs when a medical professional in any situation acts contrary to that standard of care. Because standards of care can differ depending on the area in which you live, your age, and your particular medical circumstances, there is not always a clear dividing line between what is and what isn’t medical malpractice.
Even if you can show that a healthcare provider violated a standard of care, that doesn’t mean you automatically have a good medical malpractice case. In order to prevail in any case, you will have to show that you suffered some kind of damage.
Damages can include anything from additional medical expenses to compensate for the mental or physical pain you experienced because of the negligent actions. It can also include any wages you lost because you were out of work for longer than you should have been.
To recover those damages in a medical malpractice case you have to be able to show that those damages were the result of the malpractice. This is why so many medical malpractice cases involve complicated investigations and consultations with medical experts to determine what went wrong and how it affected you.
Not only that but depending on the state in which you live there may be limits on the amount of money you can win in any medical malpractice case. So, even if you can show the negligent actions resulted in significant damages, state law may limit you to a much smaller amount.
Experienced Attorney Analysis
Being hurt as a result of a medical procedure or treatment is one of the worst things a person can experience. Even if you don’t want to cause anyone trouble by filing a lawsuit, or don’t think you have a case, you need to be able to talk to an attorney before you make any serious decision. State laws impose time limits on when you can file a medical malpractice claim, and if you delay too long you may be out of luck. If you don’t speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney after you’ve suffered an injury you could damage your ability to recover what is rightfully yours.