If a health care provider has an improper, illegal or negligent behavior towards the patient that results in any injury or harm to the patient’s health is known as medical malpractice. The negligence might be the result of a wrong diagnosis of the patient, inaccurate treatment given to the patient or because of the improper aftercare provided to the patient.
Being involved in a lawsuit is a significant event for anyone, including physicians. Cases eat up a lot of time, effort and finances, and they can be emotionally draining as well as serve as a psychological blow to one’s career.
However, when a legal battle arises, a physician or patient must put all their trust in their lawyer to address the issues. A lawsuit involving a physician depends on how candid he is about the events that brought about the claim.
And, changing the shoe to another foot, the physician ought to heed to the lawyer’s directives just as a patient complies to a physician’s advice for treatment to be effective. So, if you (Physician) find yourself facing a legal claim, this guide is a provision for you to understand the best way to counter the request appropriately.
What Counts as a Medical Malpractice?
All humans are bound to make mistakes and physician’s are not an exception. However, not every mistake qualifies as a claim against a physician. A poor outcome to a patient is not an indication of malpractice either. Complications can develop in a seriously ill or even fatality, yet the doctor has provided the best treatment possible. He cannot be faulted for that.
Legally, a lawsuit can be filed if an action or omission by a healthcare provider falls under the set standards of treatment that they should provide under the same circumstances and as a result, there are injuries.
Conditions that validate a malpractice claim
If treatment was below medical standards.
The action or inaction of a doctor leads to verifiable serious injuries that if requisite care were taken would not happen.
Note that “acceptable standard of care” also depends on existing circumstances. In one account, reasonable care might be considered below standard under different circumstances.
Requirements for Medical Malpractice Claim:
Following requirements are required for an outstanding lawsuit:
The essential requirement is that the doctor-patient relationship existed. There must be a show of a formal meeting with the doctor at his clinic, and a relationship was formed between them. A doctor cannot be sued if he did not directly treat him.
Negligence of a Doctor
The doctor is not at all liable if there is dissatisfaction with treatment or the desired results of his treatment. Suing a doctor can only pull through if there is harm caused during the treatment or diagnosis.
Injury caused by a Doctor’s negligence
It is essential to prove the injury caused is not because of his diseases; instead, the damage is because of the negligence of the doctor.
The injury resulted in specific damages.
The doctor can be sued if the injury caused out of negligence causes severe damages, such as:
- If they can no longer work and support himself/herself as a result of the injury caused.
- Suffering from severe pains from the injury
- As a result of negligence there were additional medical bills.
Patient’s Compensation Funds (PCF):
If it is proved that the patient has been the victim of malpractice, the funds can be recovered through the PCF.
How does PCF work?
When a complaint against the doctor for negligence, the complaint form is given to the medical review panel. The panel comprises two to three doctors or the health care professionals belonging to the same field to which the sued doctor belongs to.
The panels review the complaint and check whether malpractice occurred or not and that the injury or harm caused could have been avoided if there was utmost care and caution. It is the panel tasked with the responsibility to give an opinion of whether there was a breach of standard care or not.
Once the panel gives its opinion, the claimant has to decide whether he/she wants to pursue the case in court or not because the review panel cannot provide any compensation; it only determines whether malpractice occurred or not. The members of the review panel can be called as witnesses by the jury because the jury can consider their opinion at the malpractice trial.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer
These are lawyers who are representing their clients (The surviving family member of the patient or the claimant) who are suing the doctor or medical health care professional for professional misconduct or in other words for negligence. Medical laws vary in different states in regard to medical malpractice. Baker and Gil Christ handle legal medical cases with precision and professionalism. Visit their website here.
The Relation Between Injury and Negligence
In a legal medical claim, the fourth element is called Causation. For the case to hold water in a court of law, it has to be established that negligence by the physician put someone in harm’s way.
Although it will be quite a task to prove that the negligence of a physician caused a patient’s injury, third-party medical experts must investigate the details of the case. The investigation should be carried out thoroughly to link the damage to negligence directly.
For instance, if during a surgical procedure, the physician does not operate with care and cuts an organ intentionally, he is liable for that unintentional cut. In reality, proving causation is not that easy.
The common ground is that the investigator has to find the error by the physician that caused the injury to the patient. A physician should always act as a medical professional when a negligence case comes up.
A professional in the same expertise and experience in the same field is ideal for examining the issue of negligence concerning the injuries suffered as claimed.
Medical malpractice cases can be costly and draining but result in a settlement worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. With all grounds to file a lawsuit, get an attorney who is experienced on the same. Also, it would help if you were financially ready for the high costs throughout the trial.
Malpractice attorneys don’t charge for initial consultation and representation, but they serve the client on a contingency fee basis. Once the case is settled in court or a verdict is won, that’s when you pay the attorney.