When we’re diagnosed with an illness or physical condition, we all want to trust in the expertise of our personal physicians and medical professionals. Unfortunately, doctors are human too, and everyone makes mistakes. The real problems occur when those mistakes are a direct result of negligence or substandard treatment. In cases where a patient suffers harm due to this negligence or faulty treatment, it may be appropriate to file for medical malpractice. Around 20,000 such claims are filed every year. But how do you know whether your circumstances warrant such a filing? And what are the finer details of filing this kind of claim? We’re answering some of the most common questions about medical malpractice below.
Who Can File for Medical Malpractice?
If you are injured, fall ill, or experience medical complications due to negligent or faulty treatment you received, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. You may also be able to file such a claim if your child is a minor and was harmed due the aforementioned reasons. If your family member or spouse died due to the actions of a negligent healthcare provider, you can likely file a claim. However, this claim will likely be classified as a wrongful death suit rather than medical malpractice.
How Do I Know if I Have a Viable Case?
The best way to know if your case will hold up in a court of law is to find a personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in medical malpractice cases. It’s important to remember that even if your diagnosis was incorrect or your medical procedure did not go smoothly, this doesn’t mean you can automatically file a case. There are specific circumstances that need to be met in order to file.
First of all, it must be clear that a medical professional or facility failed to meet the standard of care. This means that this individual or organization failed to provide the minimum for acceptable care and did something no other reasonable medical professional would do in this specific situation. In addition, a medical professional or facility can be held responsible for their negligence only if it is probable that this negligence caused the subsequent injuries suffered by the patient. Finally, it must be determined that these injuries caused by medical negligence led to pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of income, disability, death, or other damages.
In other words: the doctor-patient relationship must be established, as must the failure to provide adequate medical treatment and the quantifiable harm the patient suffered as a result. If these circumstances are met, it’s time to find a personal injury lawyer and talk about filing a case.
Can I Still Recover Damages if I Signed a Consent Form?
Yes, it’s still possible to recover damages even if a consent form was signed. That’s because a consent form determines you’re aware of any risks associated with a given procedure. However, a consent form does not absolve a medical professional from providing the standard for care, nor does it give them the license to act negligently. Just because a procedure has its risks does not mean you’ve consented to receiving faulty care.
Do I Need an Attorney to File This Type of Claim?
While you do not technically require a lawyer to file a medical malpractice claim, you should make it a priority to find a personal injury lawyer if you plan to file. These cases can be extremely complex and time-consuming, requiring all kinds of medical records and expertise from other medical professionals. At the very least, you should consult with a personal injury attorney to learn more about your options.
If you need to find a personal injury lawyer to help you after a car accident or with a medical malpractice case, contact the Law Offices of Steve Zwick today.