Medical malpractice is much more than just being unsatisfied with the level of care you received from your health care provider, or having a negative experience because of poor bedside manner at the time of your care. The definition of medical malpractice is that your doctor, or other health care professional, failed to perform his or her duties competently, resulting in harm to their patient.
Several criteria must be met in order to prove a case of medical malpractice.
First, you must be able to prove that there was, in fact, a professional-patient relationship between the parties involved. This means that you must have proof that you sought medical attention from a professional, spoke with or visited the professional who treated you, and that the professional agreed to take your case and provide treatment, or care in exchange for payment. This is simple to prove, as you will usually have records at your physician’s office regarding your office visits, or notes regarding phone contact. The only time a question would arise over existence of a relationship between you and a health care professional would be in the instance that the professional did not directly provide the treatment in question, despite being your regular caregiver. For example, the physician that caused the problem was part of the same practice as your physician, and standing in for him, but was not directly your physician.
In order to successfully start a Medical Malpractice case you must also be able to prove negligence by the health care professional.
Most states require that a “standard of care” be established by another medical professional, of your choosing. It has to be proven that your doctor failed to follow that standard, and how he may have deviated from it. It will come down to whether or not your health care provider was “reasonably skillful and careful” in providing your care.
The third necessary requirement for proving medical malpractice is whether or not injury or illness was sustained as a direct result of the professional’s negligence. It has to be more probable that the doctor or professional acted with incompetence that caused the injury or illness you are claiming resulted from his care. The medical expert you provide must be able to give expert testimony that your injury or illness was solely because of your doctor’s negligence or incompetence, and not one that you would have developed otherwise.
The last defining factor of medical malpractice is whether or not you sustained specific damages as a result of the injury or illness caused by the doctor’s negligence. Sadly, even if the first three things are found to be true, a lawsuit cannot be pursued if you do not have additional damages as a result of the illness or injury the doctor has caused. You will need to show that you have additional medical bills, physical or mental pain resulting from the incident, or that you have suffered lost wages from days missed at work after the injury. Once you’ve established these four things, you have a medical malpractice suit.
Medical malpractice can come from a variety of situations, like improper treatment, failure to warn a patient of risks that may have led them to opting out of the procedure or treatment for a less threatening option, or failure to diagnose an illness (prolonging proper care and treatment) that a competent professional would have diagnosed correctly, or in a way that would have led to a more favorable outcome. It’s best to discuss your individual situation with a lawyer to find out if your case qualifies.
For more information on medical malpractice, or to discuss your personal case, please contact the Law Firm of Edersy Suarez.