When we put our trust in medical providers whose primary purpose is to help us, and instead we are harmed or injured, it can be confusing as whether or not we should pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What is Medical Malpractice?
When a health care provider falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient they have committed medical malpractice. In the majority of cases, the medical malpractice or negligence involves a medical error, possibly in diagnosis, medication dosage, health management, treatment or aftercare. The error may have been the failure to act appropriately or acting in a careless manner.
Statistics show that one out of every three patients who are hospitalized in the United States become victims of a hospital error. Some of the most common errors are:
• Leaving thing behind inside patient's body after the surgery
• Operating on the wrong body part
• Staph infections
• Dispensing the wrong dosage of medication
• Administering the wrong medication
How do I decide if my particular treatment constitutes a viable case?
In order to establish whether or not the case has merit you have to consider what elements are required.
1. First and foremost it must be established whether or not the medical provider met the recognized medical standards by which a health care professional should abide by when rendering care for patients. This element must be proven with the testimony of a doctor in the same area of specialty as the defendant.
2. Second, assuming there was negligence, did it cause harm? The patient has to prove that the negligence is what caused the injury or harm he is suffering. If the harm preexisted the negligence or was an expected consequence of the underlying medical problem with or without negligence, the claim is not viable. Causation must be proven by sworn testimony from a doctor who specializes in the area.
3. Lastly, the patient's injuries must have considerable consequence. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is very expensive and the damages may not justify the cost of investigating, preparing, obtaining medical records, securing expert witnesses and prosecuting a suit against a doctor or hospital. Malpractice cases require a very experienced with the wherewithal to advance the significant costs necessary to make the case. In evaluating the seriousness of your damages jurors consider such things as: did the negligence result in death, does the plaintiff have to live in constant pain, is there a major loss of income, has the plaintiff been disfigured or rendered seriously disabled.
If you think that you have a medical malpractice case it is important to contact an attorney who not only has vast experience handling medical malpractice claims but also one who is financially stable so that they are able to meet the high costs of expert witnesses incurred in pursing this type of case.
When you believe you have a medical malpractice case you should immediately document your comments right after it occurs. Also take down the events that occurred and keep all records and prescriptions that may be needed for evidence.
Kinerk, Schmidt & Sethi PLLC, has proven success in handling medical malpractice cases and represents clients in the Tucson, Northern and Southern Arizona areas and Phoenix.
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