Medical professionals are highly trained professionals who provide patients with an excellent level of service most of the time. However, mistakes do happen, and these can lead to serious life-changing injuries. In this situation, it is vital that you know how to protect yourself and seek compensation for your injuries and subsequent losses. Here are the key things you need to know about medical malpractice.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a patient is injured by a medical professional (such as a doctor, nurse, or surgeon) who has failed to perform their duties competently and to the expected standard. Some common examples of medical malpractice include delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, surgical errors, or failure to warn a patient of the potential risks of treatment. However, there are many types of mistakes and errors that can constitute medical malpractice. Typically, you must be able to demonstrate the following things to prove a claim for medical malpractice:
1. There was a doctor-patient relationship i.e. the doctor was providing you with treatment.
2. The medical professional was negligent i.e. must be able to show that the doctor acted in a way that no competent doctor should.
3. The medical professional’s action caused your injury.
4. The injury caused damages i.e. physical harm, financial losses, lost earning potential, and so on.
How do I make a claim?
Medical malpractice law is extremely complex and varies from state to state. For that reason, it's always best to contact a specialist lawyer if you think you have been a victim of medical malpractice. A lawyer will be able to provide you with expert legal advice on claims for medical negligence and explain the process to you. A legal representative will manage your claim for you and deal with negotiations to ensure that you get the maximum compensation possible. Remember that it's up to you to notice medical malpractice and make a claim. If you suspect that something is not right with your medical treatment, then contact a lawyer to discuss whether you have grounds to make a claim. Make sure you don’t delay contacting a lawyer, as many states have a two-year limitation on bringing a medical malpractice claim. When you make a claim straight away, you increase the chances of your lawyer obtaining crucial evidence to support your claim.
What can I claim for?
If you can prove a case for medical malpractice, then you are able to claim for pain and suffering, along with any financial losses such as medical bills and treatment fees. Make sure you keep a record of all expenses such as receipts for medication and physiotherapy sessions. This information is likely to be needed when calculating your damages, so make sure you provide your lawyer with a copy of these documents. You are also able to bring a claim for any future losses due to lost earning potential or future treatment, for example. The sum of future losses would be determined by an independent medical professional following a consultation appointment.