Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is hurt by a doctor (or any other medical practitioner) who fails to competently perform his/her medical duties. The rules guiding medical malpractice– from when you must bring your lawsuit to whether you must notify the doctor ahead of time — differ from state to state. The professional services provided by Hamlin Dispute Resolution save both time and money. However, there are some general principle and broad categories of rules that apply to a wide range of medical malpractice cases.
Basic Requirements for a Claim
To indeed prove that you were harmed as a result of a doctor’s incompetence, you must be able to prove all of these things listed stated below;
A doctor-patient relationship existed. You must show that a relationship did exist between you and the doctor (physician-patient relationship) you are suing. That is, you must show that you agreed to hire the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. To further clarify, you cannot sue a doctor you overheard giving advice at a social function. You only genuinely have a case when there is evidence to show that the doctor actually agreed to treat you and you consented to the treatment too. Questions of a working relationship usually arise when the doctor did not treat you directly.
The Doctor was negligent. The fact that you may not be pleased with the outcome of your treatment does not translate to a foul play by the doctor or regard him as incompetent. For your claim to stand, the doctor must have been negligent in direct connection to your treatment or diagnosis. That is, you must show that the doctor has caused you harm in a way that that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have. The doctor here is not necessarily expected to have provided first class care but simply “reasonably skilful and careful” – this is usually the bone of contention at the centre of any malpractice case. Most states require that the patient presents a medical expert to discuss the appropriate medical standard care and demonstrate how the physician must have compromised on that standard.
The doctor’s negligence actually caused the injury. Due to the fact that most malpractice cases usually involve patients with a pre-existing medical condition it is actually hard to ascertain whether it was the action of the doctor; negligent or not that caused the harm. Take for example, a patient after treatment for tuberculosis eventually dies and the doctor was incompetent in a way, it could be hard to actually prove that the doctor’s negligence was actually responsible for the patient’s demise and not actually the tuberculosis. The patient must demonstrate that the incompetence of the doctor directly caused the harm. Usually, the patient has to have a medical expert testify in support of their claim.
The Injury led to specific damages. Even if the doctor were to be complacent in his duties, the patient cannot sue for malpractice if they didn’t suffer any injury. Here are some examples of the types of injuries patient can sue for:
- Physical pain
- Mental aguish
- Loss of work or earning capacity
- Additional medical cost incurred