Let’s be honest. Going to the hospital is never a pleasant experience, even if you’re going there for something positive like the birth of a baby. Hospitals are places where the food is generally bad, patients get little or no sleep, and people show up at all hours of the day and night to poke you and prod you.
There’s nobody who would choose to spend time in a hospital. But there’s a big difference between the expected discomfort of a hospital stay and experiencing medical malpractice. Malpractice is a legal term that refers to a patient suffering actual harm at the hands of their physician, other medical professionals or medical facility as a result of them falling short of their duty of care. That means that in order to file a successful medical malpractice claim you need to be able to prove real damages and that there was a real failure to provide the normal standard of care, as well as several other elements. Here are the legal requirements for filing a medical malpractice claim:
- You must prove the existence of a physician/patient relationship between the victim and the care provider being sued.
- You must prove negligence. This is not the same as being unhappy with the outcome. Physicians are permitted to make mistakes. Proving negligence requires showing that the care professional acted in a way that a competent person in the same position and under the same circumstances would not have. If the named defendant can prove that they were “reasonably skillful and careful,” it will be hard to successfully assert that they were negligent.
- Proving negligence is not enough. You also need to be able to establish that the negligence caused actual injury, such as a death, or a condition or illness getting worse. If you are just upset about the fact that you could have been harmed by negligence, you are not likely to be successful. You will need to demonstrate actual damages by showing medical bills, time away from work, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and similar specifics.
There are many different ways that medical malpractice can occur. A physician can fail to diagnose a medical problem that another doctor would have identified or may have been delayed in their diagnosis. There are obvious malpractice examples such as leaving surgical tools in a patient or operating on the wrong limb, prescribing a medication that causes harm or failing to provide appropriate warnings about known risks.
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, then it is important that you seek legal guidance quickly in order to preserve your rights. Contact our experienced medical malpractice law firm today to set up a time for us to meet.