When you seek medical attention, healthcare providers should offer their services to a certain standard. If they fail to do so, they’re said to have committed malpractice. Still, before the error can be called malpractice, it’s tried and tested first.
Malpractice causes harm to you as a patient, and one can face disciplinary action for violating the law. In the US, medical errors are considered the third leading cause of death. In case you’re a victim of malpractice, you ought to know how to go about it.
To help you out, here are some of the legal priorities in a medical malpractice case:
1. Evidence Of Legal Duty Of Care
You’re required to prove that the doctor had a doctor-patient relationship with you. This relationship is usually entered into by mutual agreement, and the doctor should voluntarily take your case.
The agreement should show that:
- Your treatment was ongoing when the malpractice occurred.
- You must have accepted to take the examination.
- You chose this particular doctor.
The proof of care shows the level of care you received as a patient. The defendant should provide medical care standards that line up with the skills and knowledge they acquire as doctors. If you didn’t receive quality treatment, then your case qualifies to receive legal action.
2. Expert Testimony To Support Your Argument
To present the malpractice before a jury, you need someone in the same profession as the defendant to confirm that the allegations are true. Their statement should indicate the kind of care you were supposed to get compared to the standard of care someone in your condition should receive according to other competent doctors.
For instance, if you’re a victim of a defective hernia mesh implant, jurisprudence requires that your claim must have expert support, such as from a hernia mesh attorney. These experts help evaluate your lawsuit regarding the obligations of the accused, breach cause, and damage. Also, experienced doctors can assess whether actual malpractice occurred since they’re competent in that field.
3. Proof Of Cause Of Injury
You need to prove that the actions of your physician are related to the cause of your harm. You can only file a claim if your doctor handled you in a way that inflicted injuries. While looking for the cause of injuries, you should be able to answer this question, ‘if the doctor didn’t mishandle you, would the injuries have occurred?’ If your answer is yes, then the defendant isn’t guilty.
For example, if your left leg needs to be amputated, but the doctor accidentally amputates the right leg, their actions have caused you an injury. In such a case, your claim qualifies for legal action.
For your lawsuit to be successful, your injuries should lead to some kind of damage. The law recognizes the following as damages:
- Loss of earning capacity
- Additional medical bills
- Additional treatment
- Mental distress caused by brain injury
- Emotional pain or suffering
After assessing the damages caused, the jury can allow you punitive or compensatory damages. Compensatory damages allowance should cover the loss caused by your physician. Punitive damages aim at punishing the defendant. If your doctor intentionally caused you harm, then they’re required to pay the punitive damages.
5. State Laws
Each state has its way of handling medical malpractices. You should know your state-specific laws first before filing any lawsuit. Details such as timelines for filing a lawsuit after the damages caused are essential in determining compensatory damages.
Some states have regulations on paying punitive and compensatory damages in medical malpractices, while others don’t have any limitations. For some states, you have to inform the defendant about the lawsuit before filing the claims. You should also include the damages in your report.
6. Time Limits To File Claims
With personal injuries or medical negligence, the general time limit is three years. However, there are different circumstances that the three-year rule doesn’t apply until a later date. For example, for kids, you can only file a case once they reach 18 years old. Their limitation period expires on their 21st birthday.
A medical malpractice case shouldn’t be dreadful. Once you know the requirements, you can pursue compensation with ease. But first, you need proof of the legal duty of care, expert testimony, proof of the cause of injury, and details of the damages suffered.
To get an idea of how to handle such cases, remember to check your state laws. Most importantly, remember to consult your lawyer for professional guidance on how to go about your specific problem. In the end, the compensation you receive will help you recover the lost income and settle your medical bills.
About the Author:
Georgina Wendel is a medical malpractice legal representative. During her free time, she shares her legal knowledge through online article writing. She is married with two children. Georgina loves cooking and baking. She also enjoys playing badminton and yoga.