We all generally trust doctors and other medical professionals to provide us with competent, attentive care. But sometimes that trust is misplaced, and a patient is harmed in some way. If this has happened to you or someone you love, you may believe it to be medical malpractice, but proving that’s the case is an entirely different thing. There are several requirements that must be met for medical negligence to rise to the level of malpractice. Here’s what you need to know about medical malpractice and what needs to be presented in order to prove your case.
There are several different types of medical malpractice. Most fall into one of the following categories:
- Failure to diagnose – A competent physician would have discovered the illness or made a correct diagnosis and delivered a better outcome.
- Improper treatment – A competent doctor would not have provided the same treatment or would have provided it competently.
- Failure to warn of known risks – Physicians have a duty of informed consent so that a patient can choose not to undergo a procedure or treatment.
No matter which category of medical malpractice you have suffered, in order to prevail in court, you will need to prove the following:
- That an actual doctor/patient relationship existed. This means that you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. Asking a neighbor or friend who is a doctor for medical advice does not meet this standard.
- The physician was negligent and did not provide a reasonable standard of care in providing your diagnosis or treatment. This is not the same as making a mistake or an accident.
- The injury that you suffered was caused by the physician’s negligence.
- The injury that you suffered resulted in specific damages such as pain, mental anguish, disability, medical expenses, lost wages.
Most medical malpractice cases will require the testimony of one or more expert witnesses. These are usually physicians in the same area of practice who will provide information on what the standard of care is for the situation that the patient presented with, and whether the defendant in the medical malpractice case provided care up to that standard. A medical expert witness will also usually provide testimony as to the repercussions of the defendant’s negligence.
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, we can help. Contact us today to set up a time to discuss your case.