When you get medical care from a physician or healthcare facility, you expect to receive the best care and treatment in the world. Sadly, many people become victims of medical malpractice that results in devastating pain and lifelong complications.
Learn what you need to know about the law on medical malpractice and whether you can make a claim as a result of errors made by your doctors.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a wrongful or negligent action that results in personal injury to another person, be it physical or financial, through medical treatment. It does not include acts of omission, including those that are carried out in good faith to avoid injuring a patient.
According to the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), medical malpractice is defined as follows: Medical malpractice occurs when the benefits did not sufficiently outweigh the risk or harm in a particular instance.
In determining a violation of the standard of care, negligence should not be viewed as the absence of negligence. As a patient, it is your right to make a claim for medical malpractice in the United States.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
When we talk about medical malpractice, we are talking about negligence. However, not all negligence results in malpractice charges.
Medical malpractice involves an intentional injury to a patient’s body or a denial of medical care. There are some situations where an injury is not considered a “normal error” and thus can be viewed as medical malpractice.
Physician negligence involves the failure of a physician to meet a patient’s needs or failing to provide a patient with the best possible treatment – for instance, if a doctor gives a patient medication instead of providing them with a thorough physical examination.
Some of the most common examples may include:
- Birth injuries and pregnancy complications
- Brain injuries
- Emergency treatment that results in injury or death
- Incorrect medication or pharmacy miscalculations
- Nursing mistakes
- Spinal cord injuries
- Surgical errors and complications
The Process of a Medical Malpractice Case
You need a specialist to help you determine whether you have a solid case for claiming medical negligence. They will explore the next step in your claim, keeping you fully informed of your legal options at all times.
In most instances, a settlement is reached before the case ever goes to trial, but be prepared for the possibility of going to court. This usually depends on how strong your case is.
If you don’t have any physical evidence that your injury or illness was sustained due to the neglect of a doctor, then it is very unlikely that your case will be taken any further.
That is why it is so important to keep records of everything regarding your case, no matter how unimportant it may seem. The type of proof you need consists of records, notes, correspondence, and expert medical opinions.
A medical negligence claim will not affect your future treatment. If you are worried about suing your practitioner or another organisation for negligence because of how it might affect future treatment, don’t be – you will not be struck off any list or compelled to leave your doctor’s surgery. Furthermore, doctors recognise that closing ranks following an act of negligence can turn out to be a costly mistake.
Medical malpractice is a topic that is complex and wide-ranging, and it has the potential to have negative consequences for you and your family.
Although the law has protections in place to help you as a victim of medical malpractice, if you’ve been injured, it’s important to seek out help from a personal injury lawyer.
Your legal rights will depend largely on whether you’re injured by one of the many types of medical malpractice or a part of a mass casualty incident.
Who Is Responsible for My Treatment Errors?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor makes a mistake that causes harm to you or someone else. No two situations are alike.
The severity of the injury is what determines the type of remedy available. The first option available to you is to sue the doctor directly.
He or she may respond by defending the lawsuit or agree to pay damages. Alternatively, you may receive payment through a settlement with a third party, such as an insurance company.
You can also sue the hospital or clinic in which you received your care. Hospitals may or may not have a contract with the physician and are not legally liable for malpractice, but are legally liable for medical errors and negligence.
If a doctor has medical insurance for malpractice, you can’t lose. This is because you’re guaranteed to receive money if your injury lawsuit reaches a verdict or settlement.
Not all states require that doctors and other medical professionals have insurance, so be sure to check if yours does. Medical professionals that can be held accountable for paying damages include:
- General Practitioners,
- Hospital doctors,
- Osteopaths and
When hospitals, surgeons and clinics in the private sector don’t have their own medical indemnity insurance, they use another policy to cover the costs owed to the claimant.
How to Prevent Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is something that physicians and healthcare facilities should take seriously, as it can result in injuries that lead to permanent disability, long-term illness, or even death.
It should be the physician’s responsibility to do everything in their power to prevent it from occurring and report doctors in question to the medical boards that regulate them. Unfortunately, this is not the way things usually go. This is where you come in.
Finally, on What Constitutes Medical Malpractice
There is a large grey area that seems to exist for those who practice medicine. Many physicians have failed to own up to their mistakes and faced no consequences, so always report a case.
The way to prevent medical malpractice is to ensure that health professionals deliver the best care possible. Most doctors would agree that patient care is the highest priority for every healthcare provider.
That said, in today’s environment, it is also important to consider the consequences of medical malpractice. After all, physicians have an obligation to provide the best care possible for each individual that enters their healthcare facility. This is why it’s vital to speak up when things go wrong.
Author: Howie Robleza is an experienced freelance writer.
Photo by weiss_paarz_photos