Medical malpractice affects many individuals when health care professionals commit errors in the operating room, hospital, or doctor’s office. Medical error was the third leading cause of death in 2016, and over 21% of adults in 2017 reported experiencing a medical error of some kind.
If you have sustained an injury that you suspect may be the result of medical malpractice, take a look below to determine the strength of your case and know what you need to win.
Before pursuing your lawsuit, first determine if your injury is the result of medical malpractice in a legal sense. Just being unhappy with a result does not necessarily mean your medical professional committed malpractice. Ask yourself the following questions to gain a better understanding.
First of all, was the negative outcome a result of sub-standard medical care? Asked another way, does your doctor or medical provider have the same knowledge and skill and use the same care normally used in the medical profession? Likewise if your doctor claims to be a specialist do they have the same knowledge and skill, and provide the same care normally provided by other doctors who have the same medical specialty? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then your doctor or medical provider was likely negligent.
Was the medical professional practicing outside their area of expertise? If so, they may have made a misstep due to ignorance or lack of experience in that area of medicine.
If you underwent an operation and experienced negatives results, were they due to negligence? Sometimes operations carry along their own risks, which can translate into issues down the road for you. However, if something very unexpected went wrong during an operation, it’s possible that the medical professional might carry the blame.
Finally, if you suffered an injury or complication during a medical procedure that you were never told was a risk of your procedure – or if a procedure was performed on you that you were not aware was going to be performed – you may have a claim for lack of informed consent. It is important to have the Informed Consent document you signed before your procedure to determine this.
Prove that negligence caused harm
Once you’ve established that your health care professional may be guilty of some type of negligence, you must then prove that their actions caused harm to you. Stated another way, you must show the harm suffered by you or a loved one would not have occurred but for the negligence of your doctor or medical care provider. It does not matter if the harm was unusual or unexpected, just that it was caused by the negligence of your medical care provider.
Finally, you must show what your damages are to prove your medical malpractice case. For example you must show how the injury has impacted your daily life. How has your lifestyle changed for the worse? Being able to demonstrate what your life was like before the injury and after will be key. Other examples of damages are lost wages because you cannot work, past unpaid medical bills, and the cost of ongoing medical care in the future because of your injuries. If you are insured through Medicare or the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) any money those entities paid for your medical treatment will be included as damages and must be paid back to them. If you lost a loved one another element of damages is what support they were providing you, your children, and parents.
You’ll also need to call upon expert witnesses to evaluate your case and the medical professionals in question. These witnesses will be practicing doctors in the particular field affecting you and will speak to whether your physician provided you with a reasonable standard of care. In most states you cannot bring a medical malpractice case without the support of medical experts.
Consider Thistle Law
If you feel the above points apply to your injury, you may have the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit case. Contact us to discuss your options.