Inadequate medical care or medical errors or failure to deliver appropriate medical care can lead to very serious consequences. Patients expect to obtain competent medical care whenever they go to a doctor or other healthcare professional to treat them for illness or injury.
Unfortunately, there are times when a medical professional doesn’t deliver proper care. When that happens, patients may end up sicker or with more significant injuries than they had when they first went to the doctor.
What is Medical Malpractice?
When a doctor or other healthcare practitioner causes injury to a patient because of an omission or negligent act, it’s considered medical malpractice. This could include an error in diagnosis, treatment or other aspects of healthcare. It means that a medical professional has failed to perform to the standard of their profession.
What is Needed for a Claim of Medical Malpractice?
In order for an incident to be considered malpractice, the following characteristics must be present:
- The expected standard of care was violated
- The patient sustained an injury that they wouldn’t have had if there hadn’t been negligence
- The patient suffered significant damages such as present or future medical bills, lost wages, disability, or pain and suffering
What Type of Procedures May Lead to a Medical Malpractice Claim?
There are many different scenarios that could lead to a violation in the expected standard of medical care. Some examples of procedures that may lead to a medical malpractice claim include:
- Unnecessary surgery
- Errors made while delivering a baby
- Medication errors
- Surgical or anesthesia errors
Surgeons sometimes operate on the wrong body part or cause damage to healthy organs during surgery. Failing to warn patients of known risks of a prescription drug or procedure could also lead to a medical malpractice claim.
What Type of Damages May Be Compensated Through a Lawsuit?
When significant damages are caused by medical error, it’s not unreasonable for a patient or the patient’s family to expect to be compensated. When injuries are severe, patients may lose their enjoyment of their quality of life. Lawsuits can be filed for general damages such as pain and suffering, which can be both physical and mental.
Some damages can be clearly itemized and these are known as special damages. This category includes the cost of medical bills, rehabilitation services, lost income or lost earning capacity. In the event of a wrongful death, the family may be able to receive compensation for lost wages, medical bills and loss of companionship that the loved one would have provided.
Does Signing a Consent Form Prohibit Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
When you sign a consent form, you are agreeing to be treated according to an expected standard of care. It doesn’t completely release a medical professional from liability if the patient is injured. A consent form advises you of risk of the procedure.
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Will I Have to Go to Trial if I File a Suit?
Not all medical malpractice suits require a trial. Many cases of medical malpractice are settled out of court. Often it depends on where you are located as to wehter a case will settle. Some doctors and hospitals are often anxious to settle out of court to avoid lengthy court procedures as well as the potential for bigger settlement amounts in court.
What Should I do if I Think I’ve Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you believe medical malpractice has been committed, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact Taos Injury Lawyers by filling out the form on this page. We will be in touch soon to discuss what happened and see how we can help.