Medical malpractice is a term that refers to negligence by a healthcare professional. This negligence could be an act of omission or mistake that results in an injury to a patient due to misdiagnosis, wrong treatment, or improper aftercare. Under the law, for a case to be considered medical malpractice, some important factors would be considered. We’ll consider these factors later in the article. Medical malpractice laws vary from state to state, but most states have similar general principles that apply to most cases.
Characteristics of a Valid Medical Malpractice Claim
For a claim to be a valid medical malpractice case under the law, the following must occur:
- Direct Contact between the Physician and Patient
For a medical malpractice claim, you must be able to prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship with the party you are making a claim against, i.e., the physician agreed to treat you, and you agreed to be treated or diagnosed by the doctor. For instance, you can’t make a valid medical malpractice claim against a doctor who was discussing with another patient or a health professional who did not treat or handle your case directly.
- There was a Violation of Medical Standards
This is another important factor that is considered for a medical malpractice claim to be valid. There must be a clear case of negligence or violation of the standard of care in the medical field. You may not be satisfied with the results of your treatment or diagnosis in some cases; this does not qualify for a malpractice claim if there was not a clear case of deviation from the appropriate medical standard. The violation must be enough to cause harm.
There are acceptable standards in the medical profession that all health professionals must follow. Even if the doctor is not the best at their job, they must be reasonable and skillful to an extent, and anything below that standard can be considered a clear case of medical malpractice. In most states, a medical expert will review the specified medical standards and determine if a violation of the standards has occurred.
- An Injury Occurred as a Result of a Violation of the Medical Standards
In some cases, it might be hard to prove that a situation occurred due to negligence. For example, it could be challenging to ascertain whether a terminally ill patient died as a result of negligence rather than the disease. Therefore, the patient must be able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the injury occurred as a result of a violation of medical standards.
In most cases, there will be a medical professional present to testify that the injury happened as a result of negligence. The case will not be considered if the negligence did not result in an injury or if the injury did not occur as a result of negligence.
- Specific and Significant Damages
The patient must have suffered various forms of harm for the case to be valid. Since medical malpractice cases take long and are expensive, the patient must present significant damages that occurred due to the injuries. The damages may include physical pain, loss of income, disability, extra medical bills, etc.
Forms of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice comes in various forms and categories. It could be a failure to properly diagnose or a misdiagnosis that resulted in damages. If the patient sustains injuries due to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, then there could be a valid medical malpractice claim.
Also, if the treatment was improper or unreasonable and therefore led to injuries, then it could be considered medical malpractice. For example, improper treatment includes the wrong type or site of surgery, wrong medication, inaccurate interpretation of test results, etc.
Lastly, there could be a case of malpractice if the health professional neglects the duty of informed consent. If the health professional doesn’t inform the patient about the risks of a procedure, which then results in the patient getting injured without giving their full consent, then it falls under medical malpractice.
In most states, there is a statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases. This means the patient must bring the case before the court within a set period after the injury. Also, a review panel will review the case and consider the evidence before it goes to trial.
Contact an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you sustained injuries as a result of medical malpractice, then you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Calvin Smith Law today to get a free consultation.