If you think that you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice, you undoubtedly want to make a claim against the careless medical expert who put you through needless suffering.
The most common way to establish liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit is to demonstrate that the treating physician or other medical practitioner made a mistake while providing care. As a result, you experienced suffering or injury.
In this article, we will discuss the 5 most essential steps that you will need to follow to prove a medical malpractice claim.
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Steps To Prove A Medical Malpractice Claim
Despite having the highest per capita health spending in the world, the US healthcare system routinely comes in last in terms of quality, cost, and patient safety.
In fact, medical mistakes are thought to be the third most significant cause of mortality worldwide, behind heart disease and cancer, with an estimated 440,000 deaths each year. In other words, 1,200 fatalities a day are caused by medical malfeasance.
Here are the 5 steps you need to follow when filing a complaint of medical malpractices—
Reveal The Doctor-patient Relationship
A doctor who violates their duty of care is liable for medical malpractice lawsuits. However, just because a person is a doctor does not mean that they immediately owe a responsibility to everyone with whom they come into touch.
Professional misconduct applies only when a professional accepts responsibility for rendering professional services. This takes the shape of a special connection in the medical setting since it is the duty of a medical care provider to act on behalf of and in the patient’s best interests.
As a result, in order to file a medical malpractice claim, it must first be proven that the plaintiff was owed a duty as the doctor’s or another medical professional’s patient.
The doctor and the patient connection is often established when the patient requests medical care and the doctor agrees to fulfill the request. However, the legal responsibility to provide a patient with medical treatment is not placed on doctors.
Therefore, doctors only owe a duty of care to individuals who consent to be treated. But once a doctor agrees to treat a patient, the doctor owes the patient a continuing duty of care until the connection is appropriately ended.
Prove The Service Provider’s Negligence
It is considered medical malpractice when a patient is harmed due to a medical provider’s acts or inactions. Unfortunately, the legislation around proving medical misconduct is quite complicated.
Sometimes neglect is really obvious. Studies published in BMC Health Services Research indicate that, in certain instances, the patient’s harm may not appear immediately after the medical operation or treatment, making it challenging to assign it to the healthcare practitioner.
Following are some of the major types of medical malpractices that you can face and need to prove for your claims—
- Conducting unnecessary surgeries.
- Errors in the process of surgery.
- Mistakes in reading or understanding laboratory test results.
- Errors in prescribing medicines or dosages.
- Failed follow-ups after a medical procedure.
- Ignoring the patient’s history.
- Misreading symptoms.
- Instructing wrong tests.
Display The Result Of The Negligence
To demonstrate that your provider made a mistake that perhaps most medical experts wouldn’t have made will never be enough when claiming medical malpractice.
Additionally, you must demonstrate that the defendant’s activity (or inaction) led to an aggravation of your medical condition or other harm or injury to you.
It is key in this situation to make it evident that the negligent treatment you got, rather than an underlying medical condition or other factors, is what caused your injuries.
This component of a medical malpractice lawsuit is frequently established via expert testimony used by plaintiffs (in addition to using an expert to show sub-standard care, as discussed above). Find out more about the distinction between malpractice in medicine and negligence.
Evaluate The Suferening In Quantifiable Terms
Pain and suffering damages are distinguished from “special damages” and are referred to as “generic damages.” Special damages include, but are not restricted to, medical expenditures, missed earnings, and other unplanned costs when the plaintiff can produce a bill, receipt, or employment contract to prove the amount paid or lost.
On the other hand, pain and suffering cannot be precisely and mathematically quantified.
Damages resulting from pain and suffering are thus arbitrary. For pain and suffering, there is no formula and certainly no accepted method of measurement.
What is fair and reasonable must be decided, and the jury (or judge if there is no jury) will frequently do so based on their own personal experiences.
The jury will take the plaintiff’s credibility and sympathies into account. Due to this subjectivity, even though the underlying injury is the same, damages for pain and suffering can vary significantly from case to case.
Preponderance Of The Evidence
The burden of proof or legal standard necessary to prevail in court is a preponderance of the evidence. A malpractice lawyer must demonstrate that the malpractice is more likely to have occurred than not to meet the evidence standard’s preponderance.
However, depending on the state where you file the case, medical malpractice claimants have certain legal obstacles to overcome, such as notice-of-claim requirements, pre-lawsuit review panels, and special files, such as the “certificate of merit.”
Role Of A Medical Malpractice Lawyer
A medical malpractice attorney may assist you in evaluating the strength of your claim, creating a demand letter, and presenting it to the responsible party’s insurance.
A prospective claim denial or one of the insurance company’s many schemes to reduce your due amount will also be fought by them on your behalf.
Additionally, they will bargain on your behalf until you get the settlement that meets your requirements. Your attorney will likely take your case to court if the insurance company fails to offer the appropriate amount or repeatedly rejects your claim.
A lawyer’s advice or representation is frequently required since medical malpractice legislation is heavily regulated by complicated standards that differ greatly from state to state.
Remember, the amount of money that can be awarded to a victim of medical negligence is sometimes limited or “capped.”