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Without a doubt, hospitals play a crucial role in society. They help keep people healthy and performing at optimum levels. In many instances, quality medical care saves lives, allowing patients to enjoy their loved ones much longer. Sadly, there are situations where these institutions and personnel mandated to safeguard life, make mistakes that compromise the health and wellbeing of patients. What’s worse is that such incidences occur more frequently than one would think. Every year, 225,000 people die because of medical malpractice, making it the third leading cause of death in the US. Unfortunately, some who survive do so with life-changing complications that require medical care for the rest of their lives. Medical malpractice can come in the form of wrong diagnosis, surgical errors, and incorrect dosages. Here’s everything you need to know about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The effects of medical malpractice go well beyond health matters. Not only does it leave patients with a lot of pain and suffering, but it can also affect their ability to perform daily tasks, thus leaving them dependent on others. This then translates to other challenges such as loss of earning potential and the suffering of loved ones.
Victims of medical malpractice receive compensation for pain, suffering, and financial loss. However, only a few of the victims file medical malpractice claims, and among them, only a small proportion receive compensation. This is because there’s a fine line between what qualifies as medical malpractice as not all errors are applicable.
Has your loved one been the victim of medical malpractice, or you are not sure whether their case qualifies? Read on to find out everything you should consider before filing a medical malpractice suit.
Duty of Care
In US jurisprudence, doctors do not have a responsibility to assist injured or ailing individuals in the absence of a special relationship. In this case, a doctor-patient relationship. For instance, if a person is hit by a car on the streets, a passing doctor is not obligated to offer medical assistance. However, if they do offer assistance, they become liable for harm that may result from negligence while treating the individual.
Any time a doctor-patient relationship is established, there’s duty of care. It dictates that the patient receives treatment with a degree of care, diligence, and skill expected from a competent physician in a similar scenario.
Was There a Breach of Duty?
Once duty of care has been established, it is essential to ensure that it was breached. Breach of duty encompasses different forms of malpractice such as misdiagnosis, incorrect dosages, and at times sewing up patients while medical tools are still inside their bodies.
For the latter, determining negligence is relatively straight forward. With the other two, there will be a wide range of factors to consider that are unique for each case.
Did the Breach of Duty Result in Injury?
So, there was a breach of duty. Hooray! Don’t celebrate just yet. The breach of duty must have resulted in injury or harm to the patient for a malpractice case to stand. There should be a direct link between the injury and breach of duty as a causing factor.
Do You Have Evidence for Your Claim?
Medical malpractice accusations are serious. As such, you must be able to demonstrate that there was malpractice which directly resulted in injury. Proving such negligence requires you to provide extensive and compelling medical evidence.
For this, you will need to seek other medical experts’ counsel and add their testimonies to your evidence.
Determine Who Should Be the Subject of Your Lawsuit
Victims don’t receive compensation in many malpractice lawsuits. Usually, this is not because there was no malpractice, but because of prosecuting the wrong person. Naturally, when a malpractice incident occurs, victims blame the hospital, and their lawsuits are against the institution instead of the doctor.
When a hospital employee makes a mistake while performing their duties, the hospital will also be liable. However, not all doctors are hospital employees. Therefore, if such a physician is guilty, the lawsuit should be directed to them regardless of the fact the incident occurred in a particular facility.
Before you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, do your due diligence.
Are You Emotionally Ready for a Lawsuit?
Watching a loved one struggle after a medical procedure goes awry is not easy. On top of not being able to enjoy their company normally, you watch them suffer due to the pain and psychological burden of not being able to take care of themselves. This also places a significant psychological and emotional burden on your and other family members.
Should you decide to pursue the path of litigation, it can make it difficult to move on. This is because you will have to reenact and talk about the incident numerous times in the buildup and during the case. In addition, you may also need to find another facility for treatment. Cases of doctors or hospital staff behaving differently towards patients after filing a lawsuit are not uncommon.
Cost of Litigation
There have been many malpractice cases where victims have received substantial amounts for compensation. However, compensation is not guaranteed, nor is the expected amount.
If your case is unsuccessful, you may be required to pay damages to the other party. As such, it is wise to consider the probable cost of litigation and how it may affect you before formally filing a malpractice lawsuit.
Make Sure You Have the Right Support During a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
There are a lot of things that come into play when assessing medical malpractice allegations. This is why it is vital to seek the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Not only will they offer you legal support, but their services will ensure you can adequately take care of your loved one.
Weltchek, Mallahan & Weltckek Trial Attorneys specializes in medical malpractice cases. Contact us today to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Who Can You Trust with Your Case?
Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligence? We want to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have a case; time is an important factor. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us so we can better evaluate and serve your needs in getting the justice your loved one deserves. You may very well be entitled to compensation.
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