Medical malpractice is the act of negligence or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment they provided was below the accepted medical standards. In order to qualify as medical malpractice, the negligence must result in injury or death. Most medical professionals are required to get some form of professional liability insurance to offset the costs and risks associated with medical malpractice lawsuits. The term ‘health care provider’ is usually associated with a doctor, but in the case of medical malpractice it refers to nurses, dentists, therapists and anyone providing medical assistance to the patient.
How The Case Works
In medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must establish the five elements of the tort of negligence to have a successful medical malpractice claim.
- A duty was owed – doctor/patient relationship
- A duty was breached – deviated from normal care and how
- The breach caused an injury – deviation caused injury
- Deviation from the accepted standard – this deviation was far away enough from standard care
- Damage – mental/physical injury from health provider’s actions
Most of the U.S. has a statute of limitations giving the plaintiff 1-2 years after the initial injury to file a claim for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice cases are regularly settled before they reach trial, usually a year or two after the initial claim. The cases that make it to trial can take several years before a verdict is decided and money is paid.
Types of Medical Malpractice
- A mistake that can escalate into a minor injury to severe injury
- This includes forgetting a step while doing stitches or forgetting to check chart before administering medicine.
- Gross Negligence
- Severe negligence in terms of accepted standard care for the medical community.
- This includes mistakes such as performing a procedure on the wrong patient.
With the complexities that are included in filing a medical malpractice claim, it is in your best interest to seek help from an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Your lawyer will put together your case with witnesses, specialist testimony, and facts that help build your defense. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed by the negligence of a health care provider, it is imperative that you seek help as soon as possible. Get justice for your injuries!