Healthcare professionals are expected to administer care according to certain protocols. Medical malpractice is defined as the failure of the caregiver to provide care in accordance with those protocols; they have failed to perform their medical duties and that failure has caused the injury or death of a patient.
Proving Medical Malpractice
In order to prove medical malpractice, a plaintiff must show that:
- They hired the physician and that the physician agreed to be hired by them. There must be a relationship where the doctor was providing treatment as per a standard doctor-patient relationship.
- The doctor’s negligence was what resulted in the injury. This means that they have to show that the doctor was in fact negligent and that the negligence resulted in certain unwanted consequences. This can be particularly difficult since patients usually go to doctors because they are already sick or injured; a negligent doctor can argue that the preexisting illness caused the harm, not their negligence.
- The injury caused by the doctor’s negligence had the effect of harming the patient in specific ways. For example, the injury may have resulted in lost wages or pain and suffering. If the doctor was incompetent but there was no harm, then the plaintiff does not have a case.
Medical Malpractice Types
The types of negligence that can result in a medical malpractice claim may also be grouped into certain categories; they include:
- Failing to diagnose an illness. A doctor who has failed to provide a correct diagnosis may be found liable if their failure has caused harm to the patient.
- Improperly treating an ailment. If a doctor has rendered treatment that is not in keeping with medical standards, a patient who has been injured by the treatment could have a viable medical malpractice claim.
- Not warning patients of the known risks of a procedure or other form of treatment. Doctors have a duty to ensure that their patients are aware of risks so that they can make informed decisions. If an uninformed patient is harmed by a procedure, they may be able to file a claim against the doctor.
Medical malpractice attorneys understand all of the above principles and will know what approach to take when seeking damages. They will have an intimate knowledge of the malpractice laws in their state and aggressively fight for the compensation to which their clients are entitled.