When you enter a medical facility for treatment, the last thing on your mind is incompetence. Feeling anxious about any upcoming procedures and worried about the outcome is natural, and you might take it for granted that the doctors and staff in charge of your health will do everything possible for a positive outcome. When that fails to happen you might have a medical malpractice claim on your hands. Read on to learn more about this area of civil law and personal injuries.
The basis of a claim
This area of the law is unique in the way it combines your physical well-being and the law. Personal injury law requires that certain elements be present for a claim to exist.
1. You must have a solid doctor-patient relationship
Traditionally, any doctor that treats you has, by default, a relationship to you, even if you've never met the doctor before or were unaware of them treating you. When you undergo surgery, for example, you may not be personally introduced to the anesthesiologist but that doesn't mean that you don't have the required level of relationship. It may be less easy to name situations where you did not have such a relationship. A mere meeting of doctor and patient does not necessarily constitute a relationship if all you did was consult with them in their office. If they never treated you then you do not have a relationship and there is no claim.
2. The doctor or facility failed to use skill and care
Being unhappy with a treatment is not enough grounds for malpractice. You must be able to identify specific negligent behavior that caused you harm. The courts will ask whether another doctor would take the same actions as that doctor did under the same circumstances? In medical malpractice cases, the testimony of medical experts who can discuss something that is known as the "standard of care" will be required. There are guidelines to be followed, and knowing how that facility or doctor deviated from those guidelines is a key point.
3. The doctor or facility's negligence was a direct cause of the harm done
This is where the legal standard "more likely than not" comes in. When an injury or death occurs as a result of or in connection with medical treatment, the question might be: how likely was it that the harm was caused by negligence? For example, if the patient had a serious illness before the doctor treated him, was his worsened state a result of the disease itself or the actions of the doctor?
The final element is harm done
If the doctor was negligent in their actions but no harm was done as a result then there is no case. Speak to a medical malpractice personal injury lawyer to have your case evaluated.
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