Medical malpractice cases are known to be the third largest cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). With such a high rate of medical malpractice cases in the country, it’s important to be aware of what a medical malpractice lawsuit entails. Whether you are a victim yourself or someone you know, here’s all that you need to know about it.
Let us start by understanding what exactly does a medical malpractice mean. A medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional has failed to perform his medical duties as per the standard of care and as a result of which, his/ her patient suffers a great deal. It is the negligence on part of the medical practitioner towards the patient care and treatment.
A case of medical malpractice would be filed if the negligence of the medical practitioner caused harm and injury to the patient. This injury and harm alters the life of the patient, the responsibility of which is on the medical professional.
Now that we have understood what a medical malpractice means, let’s look at what all will you need for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you want to file for claim, you should have proof supporting the below.
1. A patient doctor relationship
This is the basic and the foundation of any medical malpractice lawsuit. You need to prove that the medical practitioner was your doctor, who agreed to be hired and render his services and skills towards your medical needs. You cannot sue a doctor you just had a conversation with. You need to prove that the doctor you’re suing was diagnosing and treating you for your illness or disease. You need to prove that a patient- doctor relationship existed.
2. Negligence of the medical practitioner
Next, you need to prove that the doctor was negligent in his diagnosis or treatment which has caused you significant harm. You should be able to prove that in the same circumstance, a better, more competent doctor would’ve not made this mistake. A doctor is supposed to be skilful and careful while rendering his services, so if he/ she has failed to do that and that has resulted in you getting harmed and injured, then you need to prove this negligence. You will also need to get a medical expert to explain the standard of care that your doctor did not follow.
3. Doctor’s Negligence Caused You Harm
This is a tricky one. In a lot of malpractice cases, the doctors are able to prove that it wasn’t their negligence that caused you harm, but rather the previous medical treatments or doctors that worsened the situation already. In this case you need to be able to prove that it was in fact, more likely than not, your doctor’s negligence and incompetence that has directly caused you harm and injury. For this as well, you need a medical professional to testify and support your claim of medical negligence.
4. Damages and Harm
You cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit if the negligence of the doctor didn’t actually cause you any harm or injury. You need to prove that the medical negligence of the doctor caused you specific injuries and damages. For example, you should be able to prove that you suffered from physical pain, mental anguish, additional expenses etc.
It’s important that you hire a medical malpractice lawsuit attorney to fight such a case for you. They will be able to help you with all the details and other requirements for a successful claim in the case of medical negligence. But it’s important that the above mentioned proofs are ready with you to make a malpractice case worth filing.