Medical malpractice is when a patient is hurt during a treatment or procedure, and is harmed as a result of the health care professional failing to perform their job adequately. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. If you feel as if you are a victim of medical malpractice, here is everything you need to know before you file a claim.
The basic requirements for a claim
To prove that medical malpractice occurred, you must prove to the courts the following four details:
1. There was a patient-doctor relationship
First and foremost, you must prove that you were a patient of the doctor. This is meant to protect the doctor you are suing; for example, you cannot sue a doctor for advice you overheard at a party. You must prove that you visited the doctor’s office and they agreed to treat your condition.
2. The healthcare professional was negligent
It is important to differentiate between being unhappy with your treatment and suffering from negligence. A medical malpractice claim requires you to show that the doctor caused you harm by acting in a way that was not skillful or careful.
3. The negligence caused the health problem
The patient must show that the doctor’s negligence directly caused the injury or issue.
4. The injury caused specific damages
The types of harm a patient can sue for includes physical pain, mental anguish, medical bills, and lost work and wages.
There are different types of medical malpractice
It is important to understand that medical malpractice can take many forms — from defective medical products or medical device failures to nursing home neglect and surgical errors. Surprisingly, the annual number of medical device recalls has increased by 97% between 2003 and 2012, so defective medical product claims are on the rise.
Typically, most malpractice claims fall under three categories:
1. Failure to diagnose
2. Improper treatment
3. Failure to warn patient of unknown risks.
Does my case have any special requirements?
Each state has different laws that detail medical malpractice requirements. It is important to understand these rules. Common examples include:
1. Medical malpractices must be brought to the court within a certain time-frame from the injury.