The third-leading cause of death in the US isn’t an infectious disease. While heart disease and cancer take the first two slots, medical errors place third. In fact, more than 250,000 in the US die from medical errors every year. Some reports even claim the number of deaths is as high as 440,000. Did you lose a loved one due to a medical error? Were you a victim of medical malpractice? What is medical malpractice, anyway?
Keep reading to find out! In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about medical malpractice lawsuits. After reading this guide, you’ll know how to recognize if you have a case.
Then, you can pursue legal action to receive the compensation you deserve. Read on to learn more!
What Is Medical Malpractice?
First, let’s answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind: what is medical malpractice?
It occurs when a healthcare professional injuries a patient due to negligence. This negligence can occur while diagnosing or treating the patient.
Under the law, a case must involve:
- An injury caused by negligence
- A violation regarding the standard of care
- An injury that causes significant damages
A medical professional must meet certain medical standards under the law. Otherwise, they’re not providing acceptable medical treatment. As a patient, you have the right to expect a level of care that meets these standards.
You could establish negligence if your health care provider didn’t meet this standard of care.
However, it’s not enough that the healthcare professional violated the standard of care. You also need to sustain an injury that wouldn’t have occurred if the standard of care was met.
You’ll need to prove that the healthcare professional’s negligence caused your injury.
It’s expensive and time-consuming to litigate a medical malpractice case. Your lawyer will need to call on multiple medical experts to build your case and prove negligence.
In order to build your case, you’ll also need to prove the injury led to significant damages. Otherwise, the cost of the case might become more expensive than the initial damages.
Your lawyer can help you prove that the injury caused a disability, pain and suffering, significant medical bills, and loss of income.
What Causes Medical Malpractice Errors?
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is medical malpractice,” let’s discuss how these mistakes occur.
First, it’s important to choose a qualified medical professional before seeking treatment. A doctor who lacks experience might fail to provide the treatment you need.
For example, a surgeon who hasn’t performed a specific surgery might lack skill. Their incompetence could cause a surgical error.
In other cases, a doctor or surgeon might fail to plan accordingly. For example, preoperative planning and rushing to perform surgery can cause an injury.
Other examples of medical malpractice errors include poor communication, inadequate treatment process, or fatigue. If your doctor is tired, they might prescribe the wrong medication. An exhausted surgeon might mark the wrong area of the body for surgery or knick an artery.
If your healthcare provider is under the effects of drugs or alcohol, they might also make a medical error.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
There are different types of medical malpractice cases you might want to pursue.
For example, misdiagnosis is a common issue. In some cases, your symptoms might overlap with more than one disease. It’s your doctor’s responsibility to complete the necessary testing to diagnose your condition.
An inaccurate diagnosis could lead your doctor to prescribe the wrong medication. The wrong medication could cause your condition to deteriorate or lead to harmful side effects.
Failing to diagnose your condition is dangerous too. A doctor might dismiss your symptoms. If a doctor tells you nothing’s wrong, your condition could get worse over time.
Consider getting a second opinion to make sure you get the treatment you need.
Failure to get informed consent is a form of medical negligence too. Every medical procedure, treatment, and medication comes with its own list of risks and side effects.
Your doctor is supposed to inform you of these risks before providing treatment. Otherwise, you can’t make an informed decision.
Did your doctor fail to get your signed consent for treatment? You could have a medical malpractice case on your hands.
Other types of medical malpractice include:
- Neglect by hospital staff, which could cause suffering
- Receiving the wrong treatment or surgery
- Receiving too many medications
These three factors could cause a loved one to die after a procedure or treatment. You could build a medical malpractice case on their behalf.
Every year, 7,000 to 9,000 people in the U.S. die as a result of medication error. You could also have a case if you receive the wrong medication for your condition.
Do You Have a Case?
Before you consult a medical malpractice law firm, it helps to know if you have a case.
First, you’ll need to prove you had a patient/doctor relationship with the physician that caused your injuries. You can’t sue a doctor who gave you medical advice at a dinner party.
You’ll also need to prove that their negligence caused an injury that led to damages.
If you think you have a case, call a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice lawsuits. Their previous experience and expertise can help strengthen your case.
Speaking with an attorney instead of filing a lawsuit alone can help you avoid costly errors. Otherwise, a documentation mistake could get your claim declined.
It’s important to consult a lawyer as soon as you think you have a case. Medical malpractice cases have their own statute of limitations based on the state you’re in. If you don’t file your claim fast enough, the courts might deny your claim.
What Is Medical Malpractice? It’s Time to Make Your Case
To recap, what is medical malpractice? A medical malpractice case occurs when a doctor violates the standards of care, injuring a patient.
If you think you have a medical malpractice case on your hands, don’t hesitate to contact a medical malpractice law firm. With their help, you can build your case and get the compensation you deserve.
Ready to build your case? Contact us today to get started.