Knowing if you have the grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit can help you build a strong case so you can push for an early settlement. Learn more here.
Did you know that 10% of all deaths in the United States are due to medical error? Not everyone who sustains an injury due to medical malpractice files a claim for fear of being rejected.
To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you have to have grounds for it. How do you know if you have enough proof? Read on to learn everything you need to know about these cases.
Breach in the Standard of Care
All healthcare professionals must follow the standard of care. Not following this standard forms the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Following the standard of care means that if another doctor would have performed differently under the same circumstances, the medical professional isn’t upholding the health standard.
So, what is medical malpractice? Along with a breach in the standard of care, medical malpractice refers to any medical omissions, errors, or other mistakes that result in patient harm.
Medical Malpractice Examples
The different types of medical malpractice are clinical negligence, clinical mistreatment, and clinical misdiagnosis. The following are the most common examples of medical malpractice:
- A medical team making the wrong diagnosis of an emergency patient
- Improper treatment resulting in death
- Improper fetal monitoring for a patient in labor
- Surgical mistakes
- Surgeons leaving tools inside the body of the patient
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to diagnose a clinical condition
- Medication errors
- Failure to diagnose cancerous swelling
Along with the specific circumstances of professional negligence, a medical provider who fails to perform a routine clinical level of care is being medically negligent.
If any of these circumstances happened to you, you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What Is the Standard of Care?
To understand if you can receive a medical malpractice settlement based on the lack of the standard of care, you need to understand what it is.
In malpractice cases, the reasonable standard of care is based on the physician’s licensing board, state statutes, and clinical community standards. Even if the failure does not injure a patient, doctors are held liable for failing to hold reasonable standards expected by them.
Determining the Standard of Care
After a medical injury, a lawyer must determine that the standard of care was not upheld. The laws regarding medical malpractice establish what the standard of care is.
During a case, a medical expert will testify and define the reasonable standard of care based on the circumstances and condition of the patient. The plaintiff is responsible for contacting the expert witness in some states.
The expert witness must be in the same field as the defendant to state that the doctor violated the standard of care.
Medical Malpractice Case Elements
During a medical malpractice lawsuit, a lawyer will prove that the injury suffered by the patient occurred because of negligence by the physician during clinical treatment.
A lot of times, expert witnesses have to weigh in to prove this. In addition to this, the plaintiff must have proof of four elements:
- The health care provider had a professional duty to the patient
- The health care provider breached the professional duty
- The breach of duty led to patient harm
- There were resulting damages from the breach
An expert witness can share their professional opinion if a healthcare provider breached their duty based on how another healthcare professional would have handled the situation.
Medical Malpractice Case Damages
If you opt for an early settlement without the help of a lawyer, you could be risking the damages that you deserve. The three types of damages in a court of law that you might recover from a medical malpractice case are:
- Economic damages
- Punitive damages
- Compensatory damages
You can receive economic damages if a personal injury from medical malpractice rendered the ability for you to work. You’ll be able to recover damages for medical bills and lost wages if this is the case.
Punitive damages are rewarded to discourage clinical providers from making the same mistake. It is also done to promote health.
Lastly, compensatory damages are made to help the injured patient or the survivors of the deceased gain physical therapy, money for lost wages, and long-term clinical treatment.
Settlements are affected by different factors including:
- Insurance policy limits
- Type of medical mistake that occurred
- The extent of injuries suffered by the patient
- How long it takes to file a claim after the injury occurred
Winning a medical malpractice case is less complicated if the medical professional did not follow the best practices in the industry. Since the standard of care is subjective in some cases, it is best to hire a lawyer.
How Long Does a Medical Malpractice Case Take?
As one of the most complicated lawsuits out there, a medical malpractice case has a rigorous process. Before seeing a judge, you and the other side will have to undergo a strict investigation.
The investigation process and other complicated factors involved in the case can make this type of lawsuit last for years. In rare circumstances, the case will close in as little as six months.
If you can’t wait that long to receive damages, you can opt for an early settlement.
Do You Have Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
If you suffered an injury or a loved one died because of medical malpractice, you might have grounds for a lawsuit. However, proving that a medical professional did not uphold the standard of care is not easy.
Your best chance of winning a medical malpractice lawsuit is by hiring a lawyer with the relevant practice area. They can help you find a medical expert in a similar practice as the defendant to make a statement.
Need funds from your lawsuit sooner than later? If you wish to receive an early settlement, fill out an online application now.