As per reports from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical negligence accounts for the third leading cause of death among Americans, right after heart disease and cancer. You would be rather surprised to know that more than 5 billion dollars were spent on medical malpractice payouts, which averaged to 1 payout every 33 minutes. Isn’t this an alarming statistic?
However, there are things that you can do in order to avoid becoming a victim of medical malpractice and contribute to this already staggering data. Reputable law firms like DDRB lawyers will help you with the best medical malpractice attorneys who can not only represent you in court but also fight for your rights.
If you are a novice and you are not much aware of what medical malpractice entails, keep reading the concerns of this post as we will discuss a few important facts that everyone should know about medical negligence.
Building a medical malpractice claim – What are the basic requirements?
If you have to prove that medical malpractice has occurred to you, you need to show all of the below-listed things.
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
You have to demonstrate the fact that you shared a physician-patient relationship with the doctor you are suing. This means that you have appointed the doctor and he agreed to be hired by you. for instance, it is never possible for you to hear someone whom you overheard giving wrong advice at some Cocktail party. In the situation where the doctor starts seeing you and providing you with treatment, it is easier to prove the existence of a physician-patient relationship.
- The doctor was careless and negligent
Only if you seem to be unhappy or satisfied with the results of the treatment, doesn’t that mean that the doctor is responsible for medical malpractice. You have to prove that the doctor was negligent while diagnosing your disease or while providing you with treatment. In order to be able to see the doctor for malpractice, you should be able to prove that the doctor caused you harm in any way.
- The negligence of the doctor caused the injury
There are several medical malpractice cases that include patients who were already injured or sick and this gives way to questions like whether or not the doctor was responsible for the injury. For instance, when a patient dies after receiving treatment for lung cancer, and the doctor involved did something negligent, it could be tough to prove that the Death was caused due to the negligence of the doctor rather than the main disease, cancer. The patient party has to prove that it is more likely than not that the incompetence of the doctor was the cause of the injury or death.
- The injury lead to other damages
Even though it is proved that the doctor performed below the expected standards, the patient can still never sue him for medical malpractice if the patient didn’t suffer from any harm or injury. Here is a list of the types of harm that patients can sue doctors for
- Mental distress
- Physical pain
- Loss of ability to work and lost earning capacity
- Additional medical bills
- The payout will be in the millions
The huge medical malpractice payouts in the US give the impression that every patient receives multi-million dollars in the form of compensation. The courts usually offer awards in the form of compensation for your pain and suffering, care, and loss of future income, but not what they do in the US. The largest medical malpractice award in Canada was around $15 million.
What are the common types of medical malpractice cases?
There are a wide variety of events that can lead to a solid medical malpractice claim. From a doctor leaving a surgical tool inside the stomach of the patient to failing to diagnose the disease at the right time, there are varied situations that fall under the medical malpractice claim category. Here is a list that you might want to know.
- Incapability to diagnose the disease
When the chosen doctor is not able to diagnose the disease properly and prescribes inappropriate medication, this can lead to further aggravation of the disease and even death. If there was a competent doctor who could have discovered the illness of the patient which in turn could have a better outcome, then the patient party might have a successful medical malpractice claim.
- Inaccurate treatment
When a doctor treats a patient in a manner that no other competent doctor would, the patient party could have a medical malpractice claim. In such a case, a malpractice case can also be filed if the doctor chooses the right treatment but administers it in the wrong manner.
- Failure to warn patients of known challenges
Doctors usually have a duty to warn patients of the common risks of a course of treatment. This is well-known as the duty of informed consent. Whenever a patient is properly informed of risks, they would have elected to never go through the procedure, the doctor can be liable for medical malpractice when the patient is injured through the process.
What are the main reasons behind legitimate malpractice claims going unexplored?
Patients choose never to pursue valid medical malpractice claims for several reasons. While some are concerned that the other doctors will learn about the cases and refuse to treat them. There are some who fear that this will lead to an increase in the cost of medical care. Some others forgo valid claims due to the expected financial and personal costs related to litigation.
Therefore, if you’re trying to give your medical malpractice claim the highest chance of success, you should discuss things with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. A knowledgeable team will help you make proper decisions, laying out your options and giving you the right advice. Try to get recommendations from your friends and family to be able to choose the best lawyer for your case.