Medical professionals are some of the most well-trained and intelligent people in our society. They have years of schooling and experience under their belts in the classroom and in the real world. Surely, with all of this knowledge and expertise, they couldn’t possibly make any mistakes that could put their patients’ lives at risk… right?
Despite their training and experience, medical professionals are human beings, and like all human beings, they’re susceptible to error. In fact, according to a study by the Medical Malpractice Center, there are between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice suits filed in the United States every year. If you are a victim of this error, you should talk to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
So, what exactly is medical malpractice?
To understand medical malpractice, we must first discuss the standard of care. Standard of care is defined as the level of care that a medical professional should provide to their patients, taking into account all relevant circumstances. This includes things like the patient’s age, health, and specific symptoms.
Once the standard of care has been established, it can be used to determine if a medical professional was negligent in their treatment of a patient. Suppose it is determined that the medical professional did not meet the standard of care, and as a result, the patient was harmed. In that case, the medical professional may be held liable for medical malpractice.
What are the elements of a medical malpractice case?
There are four elements that must be proven in order to win a medical malpractice case:
1) The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
This means that the medical professional must have agreed to treat the patient. This can be done either verbally or through a written contract.
2) The medical professional was negligent
This means that the medical professional did not provide the standard of care that they should have.
3) The negligence caused an injury
4) The injury resulted in damages. These damages can be physical, emotional, or financial.
What does medical malpractice include?
When most people think of medical malpractice, doctors operate on the wrong patient or give a patient the wrong medication. While these are certainly examples of medical malpractice, there are actually a wide variety of situations that can qualify as such. In fact, any time a medical professional fails to meet the standard of care and, as a result, the patient is harmed, then it can be considered medical malpractice.
This means that medical malpractice can include things like:
-Operating on the wrong body part
-Failing to diagnose a disease
-Administering the wrong medication
-Not informing the patient of all possible risks associated with a procedure
-Leaving a foreign object inside the patient’s body
-Performing a procedure that was not medically necessary
What are the consequences of medical malpractice?
The consequences of medical malpractice can be both physical and emotional. The physical consequences can range from minor injuries to death, while the emotional consequences can include things like anxiety, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In some cases, the emotional repercussions can be just as severe as the physical ones.
In addition to the physical and emotional damages that can be caused by medical malpractice, there are also financial implications. Medical bills can quickly become overwhelming, especially if the patient is unable to work because of their injuries. In some cases, patients may even have to file for bankruptcy.
What does a malpractice case involve?
The plaintiff- This is the person who is filing the lawsuit. This can be the patient, the patient’s family, or the patient’s estate.
The defendant- This is the medical professional who is being sued.
Damages- the losses that the plaintiff has suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. These can be both economic and non-economic damages.
Medical records will be used to establish the standard of care and determine if the medical professional was negligent in their treatment of the patient.
Expert witness testimony will be used to establish the standard of care and determine if the medical professional was negligent in their treatment of the patient.
What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases?
The statute of limitations is the amount of time that a person has to file a lawsuit. In most states, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years from injury or discovery. This means that the plaintiff has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If they do not, then they will be barred from doing so.
First, the plaintiff will file a complaint with the court. This complaint will state the facts of the case and what the plaintiff is seeking in damages. Once the complaint has been filed, the defendant will have an opportunity to respond. They may admit to or deny the allegations made against them in their response. If the defendant denies the allegations, then discovery will begin. This is where both sides will be able to request evidence from each other. Once discovery is complete, both sides will have an opportunity to present their case at trial. In most trials, expert witness testimony will establish the standard of care and determine if the defendant was negligent. If the jury finds in favor of the plaintiff, then they will award damages.
What kind of damages can the plaintiff get?
The plaintiff can get both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the financial losses that the plaintiff has suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. This can include things like medical bills, lost wages, and future lost earnings. Non-economic damages are the intangible losses that the plaintiff has suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. This can include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. In some states, punitive damages may also be awarded in cases of medical malpractice. These are designed to punish the defendant for their actions and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
How much will it cost to hire an attorney?
Most attorneys will work on a contingency fee basis in medical malpractice cases. This means that they will only get paid if they are able to recover damages for the plaintiff. If they are unsuccessful, the plaintiff will not owe them anything. The attorney’s fee will usually be a percentage of the total amount of damages that are recovered. For example, if the attorney is able to recover $100,000 in damages for the plaintiff and their fee is 30%, then the attorney will receive $30,000.
Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for the victim. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Contact Phil Votaw & Associates today for a consultation. We will review your case and help you determine if you have a claim. To get started, visit https://votawlaw.com/2021/11/10/choosing-a-medical-malpractice-lawyer/.
Phil Votaw & Associates,
9 N. 9th Street Fort Smith Arkansas 72901,
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