Medical malpractice can drastically change the course of your life, sometimes forever. While medical treatment is intended to help you live better, longer, and even happier, far too often doctors and other healthcare providers make mistakes that can be devastating—even deadly. In fact, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Victims of medical malpractice need a strong advocate in their corner who can help them fight for compensation to support their recovery. But medical malpractice cases are often long and complicated. They require the sometimes difficult tasks of obtaining medical records to determine the gravity of the error and getting statements from witnesses to prove a violation of the duty of care. Furthermore, once the case is presented, working towards a resolution can be even harder, with insurance companies and lawyers fighting hard to avoid large settlements for the victims of medical mistakes. Suing for medical malpractice is a unique challenge, but it is not hopeless. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can walk you through the process of seeking compensation in a medical injury lawsuit, and hold those responsible for your injury accountable.
Was It Medical Error or Medical Malpractice?
Medical errors and medical malpractice are not necessarily different. While most people are very forgiving of minor errors, at the end of the day healthcare providers are trusted to apply their knowledge, training, and experience to providing the best possible care under the circumstances. If a medical error is preventable and there are severe consequences, it can be malpractice.
Consider a patient who suffers an unexpected allergic reaction to a medication or develops a complication because of anesthesia during surgery. Sometimes, the error lies in the doctor having made a mistake in providing that medication in the first place. In other instances, it could be the amount of medication administered. Still, doctors are expected to provide appropriate responsive care and, if the doctor is not properly monitoring the patient for reactions—especially if there are known risks—then medical negligence is still a possibility.
What Are Some Common Forms of Medical Malpractice?
Whether they are medical accidents or errors or outright recklessness on the part of your healthcare provider, medical malpractice comes in many different forms. Sometimes, health concerns result in bad outcomes that are not malpractice, but most non-medical professionals do not feel qualified to determine when their injuries could have been prevented.
Medical malpractice can result from a number of different situations, and they do not all require that the healthcare professional responsible make an egregious error, like performing a wrong-site surgery. When a doctor who injures a patient should have been prepared for dangerous risk or adverse side effects, administered a medicine that a similarly qualified physician would not have, or failed to properly diagnose an illness, it might require the attention of a medical malpractice lawyer.
When Should I Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
The statute of limitations—the period of time in which a lawsuit can be filed—for medical malpractice cases can be short, but building a case when you have suffered severe injury is not something that can be done overnight. Even if you are not sure that you have a strong case, speaking with a lawyer as soon as you notice something is wrong or begin to suspect you have experienced a medical mistake is in your best interest to protect your rights.
When you do reach out to a medical injury lawyer, you can expect they will ask you questions that will help them determine whether your circumstances will meet the legal requirements for a malpractice case.
- Did the doctor have a duty of care to treat you? Do you have evidence to prove medical malpractice? This is not just a medical standard, but it is one reason doctors are hesitant to just give medical advice to everyone. Courts consider a number of factors in determining duty of care in a malpractice case, and your attorney will know what evidence to present. In addition to the injury that was caused by the breach, you’ll also need to present a compelling case. This will involve the help of expert testimony and thorough medical records that document the extent of the medical error and the injuries it caused you.
- Was there a breach of duty? A medical malpractice claim can only be filed if you’ve suffered an injury that resulted from a breach in the duty of care by your medical provider. Determining whether that breach occurred looks different in many cases, but experienced medical malpractice lawyers know the signs and what evidence to gather to prove it.
- Was there an injury caused by the breach? When you’ve been the victim of malpractice, your lawyer will be able to work to prove a clear line of causation from the breach to your injury, no matter how vague or complicated. Often, lawyers on the other side will try to show that the patient’s injuries were inevitable or even blame the patient, but attorneys with a solid knowledge of medical law can make the connections needed to build a strong case.
- Did the injury result in damages? In lawsuits, damages are the economic and noneconomic losses suffered by the person who was harmed. This can be medical bills, wages lost, and even pain and suffering. Some people are surprised to learn that the law allows for future wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering to be calculated as well—not just what has already been experienced.
Medical malpractice claims require that your lawyer builds a strong case starting as soon as possible. Calling a lawyer while evidence and witness memories are still fresh will help your lawyer defend your rights and obtain the settlement you are seeking.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers Thousands Have Counted On
If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence, we’re here to fight for the justice you deserve and the compensation you need. When you partner with Janet, Janet & Suggs (JJS), our medical malpractice lawyers can can you decide the next steps in your case so that you can focus on healing. Contact JJS today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.