Representing Victims of Medical Malpractice
If a Health Care Professional Caused You Injury, Contact Mike Slocumb Law Firm
Medical malpractice occurs when patients are harmed by physicians or other medical professionals who fail to effectively fulfill their medical responsibilities. Rules relating to when a lawsuit must be brought, whether notification needs to be made ahead of time, and other required actions vary from state to state.
Common Characteristics of Medical Malpractice Cases
Certain general principals and types of regulations apply to most medical malpractice lawsuits regardless of state. The harm, which may result from oversight, from mistakes made during the diagnosis, from faulty treatment or aftercare, or from the process of health care management, must have the following features to qualify for a medical malpractice claim:
- The accepted standard of care was breached: Certain standards have been established by the health care profession as representing acceptable treatment and behavior by competent professionals under identical or similar conditions. Patients have the right to expect health professionals to provide care that adheres to these standards. If it is commonly agreed that the standard of care was not met, a case for negligence may be brought.
- The negligence resulted in injury: In order for a medical malpractice claim to be legitimate, patients must also show that they suffered injuries that would not have been sustained without the presence of negligence. An adverse medical outcome does not in itself represent a case of malpractice. Patients need to demonstrate that a medical professional’s negligent actions produced the injury. Thus, if an injury occurs with no apparent negligence, grounds for a lawsuit cannot be established.
- The injury resulted in identifiable damages: It is extremely costly to try medical malpractice lawsuits in court as they often require extensive testimony from medical experts as well as hours of sworn, out-of-court testimony from numerous witnesses.
In addition, as mentioned above, for a malpractice case to be deemed feasible patients have to show that significant and specific damages resulted from the negligence, such as the following:
- physical or mental disability
- time lost from work and decreased earning capacity
- intense physical pain
- mental anguish
- undue suffering due to hardship
- major medical bills incurred in the present or past
Even if it is obvious that the actions of medical professionals failed to meet the accepted standards of their field, patients cannot sue for malpractice if none of the above types of harm was experienced.
Other Requirments for Medical Malpractice Claims
Besides the requirements listed above, many states have their own rules and guidelines for medical malpractice cases. For instance, in most states, such claims have to be submitted shortly after the injury occurred, generally between six months and two years. This period of time is known as the statute of limitations, and if the lawsuit is brought after it has run out, the case will be dismissed regardless of the facts involved.
Considering the many complex factors related to medical malpractice cases, it is wise to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to review your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.