When people decide to visit a doctor, they hope to find relief in their symptoms. Unfortunately, errors happen at a doctor’s office, some of which can have devastating consequences on patients and their families.
Injuries arising from medical malpractice are compensable under personal injury law, but the compensation is not automatic. Victims must file a medical malpractice lawsuit with the at-fault doctor or their insurer.
Health Provider’s Duty of Care
There is no guarantee that your symptoms or illness will resolve after seeing a doctor. It is possible to have your condition worsen, and it does not have to be a result of negligence. As long as a doctor exercises a standard of care required of any reasonable healthcare provider under the same circumstances, there may be no ground for medical malpractice.
But if you feel that a doctor failed to exercise standard care, which resulted in your injuries, it would help to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer.
Reach Out First
When you are suspicious of medical malpractice damages suffered by you or a loved one, the first step should be reaching out to the care provider in question and letting them know your concerns and suspicions. The health care provider may either acknowledge the problem or help you understand what could have gone wrong. Also, they may even offer to resolve the issue amicably.
However, resolving the issue would require you to work with an attorney, especially if you are required to sign any paperwork on the matter. If reaching out does not yield the results you are looking for, you may want to file a complaint with your local board of physicians, who can help initiate a resolution. If none of those seem to work, you may go ahead with a lawsuit.
Every injury lawsuit stands or falls on evidence. In a medical malpractice case, there must be evidence of negligence in the standard of care given. A mere mistake does not constitute negligence as long as the doctor acted with reasonable care based on the circumstances.
To prove your case, your lawyer must clearly show that the health provider offered substandard care and that you suffered harm from the substandard care. Often, a lawyer will depend on expert witnesses to help with the technical aspects of the lawsuits.
Common medical malpractice examples include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, leaving surgical instruments in a patient’s body, administering wrong medicine or wrong dosages, and failing to turn a patient resulting in bedsores.
Recoverable Damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit are similar to damages for other types of injury claims. Under some jurisdictions, capping for recoverable damages may apply, so you may want to ask your attorney if capping applies to your state’s medical malpractice laws.
There are two main recoverable damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit; economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include all financial costs resulting from medical malpractice. These include the cost of treatment, lost wages, cost of prescription medicine, cost of living aids such as wheelchairs, and costs associated with lifestyle changes such as hiring a caregiver and home modifications.
Non-economic damages include damages without a specific financial tag, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of life enjoyment, and psychological trauma. Under extreme cases where gross negligence is a factor in medical malpractice, the victim could also recover punitive damages.