When a medical provider’s actions or inactions fail to meet the medical standard of care, their behavior constitutes medical negligence. If their medical negligence causes their patient to suffer an injury, it becomes medical malpractice. When the patient can prove the various legal elements that add up to medical malpractice, they can take legal action against the negligent medical provider to recover an award for their injury.
Medical Malpractice—More Common Than You Think
When a situation arises that gives you a reason to think you have a cause for medical malpractice, it is useful to understand some of the legal standards and differences between medical malpractice and negligence.
Despite preventive measures from medical practitioners, as well as rules and regulations constantly being updated to improve patient safety, errors still happen. According to BMJ, medical errors are the third greatest cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease and cancer.
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Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can take many forms. Some examples where medical negligence could lead to a lawsuit include:
- Failure to diagnose.
- Surgical errors or unnecessary surgery.
- Prescribing the wrong medication.
- Disregarding or failing to consider appropriate patient history.
- Not ordering proper tests
If you think you have sustained an injury due to medical negligence where a healthcare provider has failed to act in accordance with the requirements of standard medical practice, report it to the State Medical Practices Board as soon as possible.
Knowing Whether Medical Malpractice and/or Negligence Occurred
You may find it difficult to ascertain the presence of medical malpractice. In some cases, such as the wrong limb being amputated, or performing a procedure on the wrong patient, for example, the negligence and injury are clearly evident. In other cases, the patient may not immediately recognize the malpractice, as the injury may not manifest until a later date—or medical providers do not offer details about the mistakes they made.
Receiving Compensation for Your Injuries
Medical injuries can impact your life in many ways—financially, physically, and emotionally. For this reason, your lawyer will conduct a thorough evaluation of all the ways in which your injury affects you, in the past, present, and future.
Your lawyer will assign value to these damages, both economic and non-economic, and present them to the medical provider’s insurer. They will negotiate toward a fair settlement. If they cannot agree on an amount, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and take the matter to civil court.
Whether via an insurance settlement or a court award, you may receive compensation for the following types of damages, among others:
You may face considerable medical bills, including doctor visits, therapy, prescription drugs, corrective surgery, and future medical expenses.
Pain and Suffering
This includes not only awards for physical pain, but also the emotional distress that could accompany your injuries, such as anxiety and depression.
Loss of Consortium
If a wrongful death occurs as a consequence of medical malpractice or negligence, family members might receive compensation through a wrongful death claim. Other examples of loss of consortium include a loss of ‘family benefits,’ such as sexual relations, companionship, affection, and comfort.
Loss of Wages or Future Earning Capacity
With severe injuries that permanently change your ability to work, you could seek compensation for lost wages, including damages for future earning potential.
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Time Limits for Making A Claim
Some states impose time limits on how long you have to make a claim. These limitations appear under the states’ statutes of limitations. If signs or symptoms of injury or illness do not immediately appear, states generally add on additional time, starting the limitations clock on the date the patient discovered their injury or illness.
Steps to Take If You Think You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you believe you suffered harm due to the negligence of a medical provider, do your research and consult with a medical malpractice attorney who can explain your legal rights.
Proving medical malpractice involves in-depth knowledge of both medicine and the law. Your attorney should be able to present, explain, and support evidence in complex medical and legal cases.
For a free consultation about your case of medical malpractice, call Ben Crump Law, PLLC. We can help you in your efforts to get the justice you deserve. Call (800) 641-8998.