If you’ve ever wondered what to do when doctors make mistakes, there are instances when doctors do make mistakes in diagnosis or treatment of a condition. This often raises a number of concerns such as the well-being of the patient and more importantly the impact of the error on the patient’s condition. Ultimately, the incident may raise red flags such as when the patient suffers as a result of the doctor’s misdiagnosis, and it amounts to medical malpractice. In some cases, it’s more complicated than you might think however it is what occurs in the healthcare setting that undoubtedly leads to a valid malpractice claim.
To know whether you have a medical malpractice claim, you need to understand exactly what medical malpractice is. You could either be a victim of medical malpractice or merely a mistake on the part of a healthcare professional or healthcare facility. To put forward a medical malpractice case, there different elements that must be in place. When these different elements are in dispute they must be established through evidence and testimony by either the plaintiff or their legal team.
To open a medical malpractice claim, there must be an existence of a patient-doctor relationship. The plaintiff must also be able to prove medical negligence which ultimately means that there was a failure to provide treatment according to the acceptable medical standard of care. The plaintiff should also prove that there was a causal connection between the patient’s harm and the care providers medical negligence which is often referred to as quantifiable harm to the patient.
Basically, the question you have to answer is what is the accepted practices around the medical procedure or treatment that led to the alleged mistake. The patient’s expert medical witness usually provides this answer and these are usually doctors who have expertise in the patient’s condition. These doctors also practice medicine in the same geographic area as the defendant doctor.
In most cases, it’s not enough just to prove that your doctor made some type of mistake. The expert witnesses have the responsibility to prove a causal link between the measurable harm done to the patient as a result of that mistake. So basically, in other words, it needs to be proven that had it not been for the error on the doctors part, the patient would not have experienced a deterioration in his health condition. If this cannot be proven, reasonable doubt implies that there could be new health problems that require additional medical treatment. Ultimately, unless the patient suffered some type of harm because of the doctor’s error, there can be no medical malpractice lawsuit.
However, if you’re thinking about talking to an attorney about a potential malpractice case, it should give you some type of solace knowing that you will not need to pay for legal representation right at the beginning. Medical malpractice lawyers often take cases on a contingency fee basis. Aside from the fee arrangement, there are a few things you might want to ask your West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney when you initially have a consultation with him.
Some of the questions that may not have obvious answers for include scenarios where you’ve travelled to another state for medical treatment and had some form of medical malpractice occur, and you would like to know whether you can file a malpractice suit in your hometown or whether you need to file it in the state where it occurred. You should also find out if your state has “tort reform” laws that basically restrict the amount of money you can receive from a medical malpractice lawsuit. You should also find out if there’s a time limit for filing a medical malpractice case.