Medical malpractice is one of the more technically demanding fields of law. There is a specific range of issues where a malpractice suit is valid. Even then, the case needs high levels of expert opinion, as it can take long and can be very costly. Before you file one, medical negligence lawyers recommend you are sure you have a case.
Two Basic Elements
Two key factors must be present in every medical malpractice case. The first is a medical professional – a doctor, dentist, nurse or even a medical technician – made a mistake during your treatment. The “mistake” here can also include the failure to act, commonly called an “omission” or medical negligence. The second factor, as medical malpractice lawyers can point out, is this mistake harmed you.
There is a time limit for filing a medical malpractice suit. The actual length depends on the state but the general rule is two years from when the malpractice caused you harm.
Standard of Care
Establishing malpractice does not end with knowing if your doctor made a mistake that harmed you. It is also important to know if the medical professional was giving you the proper level of treatment. This is called the standard of care, and it must be consistent at least for the region you are in. Medical negligence lawyers say if you can prove you did not receive the appropriate standard of care, you have a good chance of pursuing a malpractice suit.
Cause and Effect
You must also prove the link between the harm you suffered and the negligence. In the experience of medical malpractice lawyers, the case may stand if your condition got worse after a treatment. A misdiagnosis is usually not immediate grounds for malpractice. If that misdiagnosis caused new problems or aggravated your condition, perhaps you have a case.
Most legal disputes require an expert witness. For medical malpractice suits, having expert witnesses is usually a requirement. You need at least one to prove the link between the harm you suffered or are suffering and the treatment. An expert witness is also required to show the appropriate standard of care was missing.
Lengthy and Costly
Malpractice takes a long time to resolve, especially if the defendant puts up a fight. After all, a conviction of malpractice can end in the suspension of one’s license to practice medicine.
Additionally, the specialists you need to make your case are costly. Doctors and other medical specialists charge hefty fees for appearing in court. Along with the fees for the court and your lawyer, these can easily pile up as the case drags on. The costs of a malpractice suit can easily go over any award the court gives.
Still, medical negligence lawyers say if you feel strongly about filing, you should push it through. You are trying to get compensation for the unnecessary pain and suffering you went through. Your suit, though, can help prevent such a thing from happening to other people in the future.