As per Wikipedia, a Medical Malpractice can be defined as
“ A professional negligence by act or omission by a healthcare provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error”.
Undoubtedly, if you are a victim of medical negligence, you have the legal right to sue the respective hospital and staff. More than often, people have a flawed understanding of what medical malpractice is, and end up suing the hospital for inadequate reasons. It is important to seek expert help and avail the services of a professional medical negligence attorney to ensure that you have made the right decision.
Before seeking out expert help, it is essential to understand the various elements that could affect your decision of a medical malpractice lawsuit:
The Doctor should have ‘Actually’ behaved in a ‘Negligent’ Manner
It is crucial to understand if your doctor has, in fact, behaved in a negligent manner. Ideally, doctors are expected to follow and work within strict standards. A jury would analyse the actions of your doctors and try to establish if the actions were negligent or simply an unintentional mistake. Only if your doctor has breached his professional standards can he be deemed guilty of negligence.
A Form of Personal Injury
A lawsuit for medical malpractice is treated as a personal injury. It is a Tort Litigation and will be settled by the state court. If taken to trial, the concerned doctor will be presented in front of a jury. As per Tort proceedings, the victim is entitled to damage settlements for lost wages, emotional trauma, physical pain, medical bills, and sometimes, even punitive damages.
The Importance of Maintaining Adequate Documentation
For the success of your legal decision, it is essential to document all the events, right from your first consultation. You should ensure that you have all the necessary information. It must include doctor’s advice, problems and side effects, the monetary loss you incurred, even the suffering that you had to endure as a result of the doctor’s treatment.
The value of Informed Consent
Before commencing any treatment, every doctor is required to get an Informed Consent from their patient. The doctor must fulfil the objectives of the Informed Consent completely. He/she should make all the terms of the treatment clear to the patient, including process details, risks/ side effects and available alternatives. In case, your doctor did not fulfil any one of the above requirements, you can sue him through a medical negligence attorney.
It is Never Too Late to Seek Expert Advice
It is always advisable to consult with few other competent doctors before arriving at any decision. Medicine and treatments are subjective in nature. If you have a reasonable number of medical experts on your side, it could establish your case more purposefully.
In Case of a Misdiagnosis
Sometimes, a doctor can diagnose a patient incorrectly. If you are a victim of misdiagnosis, and a fairly capable doctor could prove that, then the initial event of misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice.
Doctors have a Medical Malpractice Insurance. In the event of being accused of medical negligence, it would be the insurance companies that will settle the claim. You could be offered a lump sum amount to settle matters out of the court. But, you must understand that, in the event of doing so, you will lose your right to legally sue the doctor in court.
A lawsuit for medical malpractice can do irreversible damage to a hospital and a doctor’s career. Therefore, it is essential to understand carefully whether you are a victim of negligence or not. It is best to take the expert advice of a competent medical negligence attorney to ensure that you are moving in the right direction.