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Commonly Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice

If you have experienced damages in the course of your treatment by a healthcare professional, you may be wondering if a medical malpractice suit is the best course of action. Use this guide to help understand medical malpractice and determine if moving forward is right for you. 

How Is Medical Malpractice Defined?

The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys defines medical malpractice as something that happens when a healthcare professional causes injury to a patient through omission or a negligent act.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice?

A variety of medical professionals can be held responsible. These include doctors, hospitals, surgeons, nurses, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chiropractors and more.

How Is the Standard of Care Defined?

The level of care required by a health professional is called the standard of care. It can be set by medical journals or textbooks, or it may be common sense. Often, other healthcare professionals will provide information regarding the responsibilities of the healthcare provider in question to give a clearer picture of what the standard of care is in that position.

What Are Medical Malpractice’s Elements?

There is the duty owed to the patient by the healthcare professional, If there is a breach of that duty and injury is caused by the breach that causes damages, the professional may be liable to the patient.

What Is a Medical Malpractice Suit?

A medical malpractice suit works to recover damages caused by a medical professional or hospital. It can only be claimed if evidence exists that the medical professional or hospital was negligent. A patient being harmed or a treatment not working is not enough. Instead, a violation of the standard of care must be present and provable.

How Can Medical Malpractice Be Proven?

Evidence must exist that the medical professional’s treatment of the patient fell below the standard of care. These expectations can sometimes be shown in medical textbooks or journal articles. Other medical professionals may be able to attest to the standard level of care expected, and an expert medical witness must testify to what the healthcare provider in question was expected to do in the situation with the patient.

What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice can present in many different ways. Some examples are:

  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
  • Incorrect medication or dosage
  • Surgery that is unnecessary
  • Surgery errors
  • Misreading or ignoring lab results
  • Ignoring patient history
  • Discharging prematurely

How Do You File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

The first step is typically engaging a lawyer experienced with medical malpractice cases. Once representation has been secured, medical records will be obtained. If there was a death, a personal representative must be appointed to obtain medical records. Using the medical records and medical literature, the lawyer will assess the case for medical malpractice potential. If the standard of care appears to have been violated and that breach caused damages, the lawyer can begin the filing process.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, take action today. Contact the experts at Mills and Mahoney, P.A. online, or call (919) 683-2135 for a case evaluation from experienced professionals.