7 Considerations When Filing A Medical Negligence Lawsuit

Medical Negligence Lawsuit

In the medical sector, human error and negligence can be costly. Sometimes, a minor mishap may inadvertently cause severe injury or damage to a patient. In some cases, it could put an end to the life of a person life who otherwise would have survived, if only proper medical care was administered.
Medical malpractice laws are aimed at protecting the patients’ rights for adequate, prompt, and high-quality care. If your healthcare professional deviates from the standard care, causing suffering to you or a family member, they may be in breach of those laws.
However, whether your medical negligence claim may succeed or not depends on many factors. Consider the following points to understand more about medical negligence claims. As with other claims and lawsuits, knowing the important elements of medical negligence is important in assessing whether you have a strong case.

Medical negligence element #1: Duty of Care

Simply put, this means being responsible for an individual’s health, safety, and overall well-being. Physicians are vowed to save their patients’ lives to the best of their abilities.
For medical negligence to be applicable, a doctor-patient relationship should be clearly established; hence, the element of duty of care. However, this does not automatically mean that you’re responsible to treat everyone who may need saving. For example, you can’t be sued for medical negligence for the death of a pedestrian whom you tried to save while passing by a road accident.

Medical negligence element #2: Dereliction of Duty 

A medical professional’s failure to provide the duty of care to a patient may also be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If a doctor did not administer the proper care and treatment expected from a competent medical professional in the given circumstances, then they should be held liable.
For example, a medical professional should always uphold a clean and sterile environment for surgeries, and is expected to always maintain this promise. In the event that a patient develops an infection because a gauze or small operation tool was left inside their body, it may be considered dereliction of duty. Such cases are reminiscent of the Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Michigan.
The term dereliction is also applicable to misdiagnosis, or prescribing the wrong medicine. This element, also called “breach of duty”, may be one of the most challenging to prove in court—partly because physicians are not keen on criticizing their colleagues.

Medical negligence element #3: Direct Causation 

This refers to the process of establishing whether the doctor’s actions were the direct cause of the injuries and damage incurred. In some instances, the impact of “breach of duty” can be direct and straightforward. In other cases, it can be quite complex and challenging to prove.

Medical negligence element #4: Damages 

The patient will have to prove to the court that physical and mental harm, as well as losses, incurred as a result of the alleged negligence. This may be proven through medical records, prescriptions, and expert testimonies.

5. Medical malpractice is time-sensitive 

Not all states have the same statute of limitations, or the time period in which you must bring the case to the court. Some places only have a six-month time-frame, while most have a two-year window. A few states even have a three- to four-year term. This means that if you fail to file the lawsuit in the period as determined by the statute, the court will dismiss the case no matter whether it’s strong or weak.

6. There are limits to how much you can receive

Compensatory damages for a medical negligence lawsuit may include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Economic compensatory damages cover past and future lost wages or earning capacity, medical, as well as life-care costs. Non-economic compensatory damages aim to appraise the actual injuries, including loss of vision, limbs, extreme pain, and emotional suffering.

Punitive damages are provided after the defendant is found guilty of willful or harmful misconduct, and these are added to the actual costs of other damages. Some states limit the cost of compensatory damages for a medical malpractice patient.

7. There’s a review panel for medical malpractice 

Before you can file your medical malpractice claim, there’s typically a malpractice review board. While this panel of experts will review evidence, and hear expert testimonies and oral arguments, the panel is not meant to replace the actual courts. They can’t award damages, either.
Established in most states, the panel serves as a screening committee, through which medical negligence claims must pass before being forwarded to the court; otherwise, the claims are scrapped when proven weak or baseless.

The bottom line 

Medical malpractice is a serious accusation against a medical professional; it should not be taken lightly. In the same vein, if you think that you’ve incurred injuries and damages because of a medical professional’s negligence, you must seek legal advice from an attorney who’s willing to represent your best interests. 

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Posted - 04/13/2021