If you or a loved one has sustained injury or even death while under the care of a physician or other medical professional you may be a victim of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a very serious issue that can affect your finances, your health and your lifestyle. Before you file a medical malpractice lawsuit it’s extremely important that you understand exactly what medical malpractice is and what must occur for you to have a case.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a medical professional due to said medical professional failing to perform their duties properly. This may include failing to provide appropriate treatment or take appropriate action, failure to diagnose, or injury/death that is the result of misdiagnosis or improper treatment.
Medical malpractice is very serious and can result in medical professionals losing their jobs and/or their medical licenses. That is why it’s important to be sure you suffered medical malpractice before accusing someone of it.
How Do I Know If My Situation Qualifies?
In order for a situation to be considered medical malpractice, there are a few things that must occur. Read over these carefully and do additional research to help you determine if they are true in your case:
There must be a doctor-patient relationship, which means that you must have actually been under the care of the medical professional. Medical malpractice does not apply if the medical professional did not treat you directly. This can be a grey area when it comes to consulting physicians who advise other medical professionals but do not treat you themselves.
The medical professional must be negligent, which means that they must have actually done something improperly or negligently. Just because you are unhappy with your care or results doesn’t mean the medical professional is liable for medical malpractice.
Injury must be caused by said negligence, there has to be a way to prove that the negligence of the medical professional is what caused the injury or death and it did not occur for some other reason. Additionally, the patient must actually sustain injuries for it to be considered medical malpractice.
How Do I Determine If/When I Should File?
If you’ve gone over the qualifications for something to be considered medical malpractice and you either believe you are the victim of medical malpractice or aren’t sure and need more clarification, it’s best to consult an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. They will be able to help you determine if you have a case and what the next steps should be.
The next steps will be to determine with your attorney if you have a lawsuit and then begin working towards filing. You will need to gather copies of your medical records to have on hand as well as notify your health care providers and insurers that you intend to file a lawsuit. The process will depend on the state you are in so consult your attorney for the best courses of action. You will also need to comply with pre-suit requirements that your attorney can walk you through.