Doctors and other healthcare practitioners make mistakes just like everyone else. Sometimes, these mistakes will rise to the standards needed for a malpractice claim. When it comes to medical malpractice, having the right help to prove the case is essential. These can be difficult cases, so the right help can make a huge difference in the potential outcome and the amount of compensation the patient might receive.
Medical Malpractice Claims Require Legal Assistance
Medical malpractice claims are highly fact-dependent and often difficult to prove in court. Most of these cases settle out of court, but they can go to trial. Patients who have been injured and believe they have a malpractice case will need to speak with a lawyer for more details about whether there is a case and what they can expect moving forward. To have a case, the lawyer will need to prove the case meets all four elements of a malpractice claim as noted below.
The Doctor Had a Duty of Care
It is necessary to prove there was a doctor-patient relationship or other duty of care between the doctor and patient. This is often easy to prove by showing medical bills from the incident, lab reports ordered by the doctor, or other types of evidence to show that the doctor was working with the patient. Verbal agreements can show a duty of care, as well, though they may be more difficult to prove.
The Doctor Breached the Standard of Care
The next step is to show the doctor breached the standard of care by acting in a way that a reasonable person with the same training and experience would not have acted. An example of this would be when a doctor prescribes a medication the patient is allergic to because they did not take the time to find out if the patient had any allergies to that or similar medications. Most doctors would take the time to ask, so this could breach the standard of care.
The Patient Suffered an Injury
For a malpractice claim to be valid, the patient must have suffered an injury. Using the medication example, if the patient noticed the error and did not take the medication, there would not be a malpractice claim. If the patient did not realize the error and took the medication, resulting in an allergic reaction, it could fit the criteria for a malpractice claim because the patient had injuries as a result of the error.
The Patient Had Damages as a Result
Simply having injuries isn’t sufficient to be a malpractice claim. The basis for any type of personal injury case is that the victim suffered damages as a result of the negligence. Using the same example, if the patient had an allergic reaction but did not require medical care, they do not have any damages and the case likely would not qualify as malpractice. If the patient had to go to the hospital, though, the emergency medical bills would be damages that may be recoverable through the malpractice claim.
Malpractice claims can be difficult to handle, so a lawyer is needed. Patients who have been injured due to the negligence or mistake of a doctor or other healthcare provider will want to contact a lawyer today to find out if they may have a case for malpractice and, if so, what to do next.