What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, occurs when a medical doctor or physician fails to act reasonably or strays from a reasonable standard of care that a similar medical professional would exercise under the same circumstances, which leads to the injury or death of a patient.

Negligence in medical malpractice can take on many forms, including a surgical error, an emergency room error, a medication error, an anesthesia error, a failure to diagnose, a misdiagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, dental malpractice, nursing malpractice, birth injuries, brain injuries, a wrongful death, a failure to request necessary tests, and a failure to perform proper follow-up care.

A medication error is one example of medical malpractice. Every year, countless patients suffer the painful side effects of medication errors, which are usually made by doctors, physicians, pharmacists, and the pharmaceutical industry. In many cases, patients have died as a result of a simple mistake related concerning a prescribed medication. These mistakes can happen in a variety of ways:

  • A pharmacist may not be able to clearly read a doctor’s handwriting and provides a patient with the wrong medication or the wrong dose.
  • A doctor may prescribe a medication without taking into account the patient’s entire medical history.
  • An overworked pharmacist may mistakenly give a person the medication of another patient.
  • A pharmaceutical company may package different doses of the same medication in similar boxes causing a healthcare provider to give the wrong dose.

As you can see, a simple medication error can be made if doctors, hospitals, nurses, pharmacists, and pharmaceutical companies act negligently or do not exercise proper caution.

If negligence results in injury to a patient, a legal case for medical malpractice can arise against:

  • The doctor, if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted standards of practice;
  • The hospital for improper care or inadequate training, such as problems with medications or sanitation; and
  • Local, state or federal agencies that operate hospital facilities.

Medical malpractice laws are designed to protect patients’ rights to pursue compensation if they are injured as a result of negligence. However, malpractice suits are often complex and costly to win.

Liability in medical malpractice cases depends on whether the doctor, healthcare provider, or other party involved in the provision of the patient’s case negligently or even recklessly causes an injury to the patient. Medical malpractice cases involve looking at whether the doctor followed the standard of care accepted within his or her area of practice. A lack of informed consent by the patient to a procedure or course of treatment can also bring on liability for a health care provider.

Medical malpractice is a serious matter that affects millions of people in the U.S. every year. Serious injury, permanent disability, and even death are all outcomes of medical malpractice. The law protects victims of medical malpractice by entitling them to financial compensation if they can prove that the doctor, physician, or medical staff acted negligently.

Medical Malpractice and the Law

Due in part to the power and resources of health care industry lobbyists, many states have passed legislation making it more difficult to bring and prevail in medical malpractice cases to court. In most states, physicians and hospitals are protected by legal limits, or “caps,” on the amount of damages and attorneys’ fees that can be awarded in malpractice suits. Also, most states have a two-year time limit for filing malpractice actions unless there are extraordinary circumstances surrounding the case.

One obstacle plaintiffs in many states may have to overcome before they can even file a malpractice action against a health care professional is the requirement that they file what is commonly known as a certificate of merit. In order to file a certificate of merit, a plaintiff will first need an expert, usually another physician, to review the relevant medical records and certify that the plaintiff’s health care provider deviated from accepted medical practices, which caused injury to the plaintiff. Once that is done, the plaintiff’s attorney can then file the certificate of merit confirming that the attorney has consulted with a medical expert and that the plaintiff’s action has value and is valid.

Medical malpractice can be committed by several types of health care professionals and, in a case where a hospital employee commits malpractice, the hospital itself may be held liable under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, which states that an employer may be held liable for the negligent acts of its employee if the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment when the negligence occurred. This doctrine is very important to plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases because it helps ensure there will be a financially responsible party to compensate an injured plaintiff.

We Can Help

If you have suffered an injury caused by medical malpractice, The Personal Injury Help Center can help you find the help and resources you need. Our network of personal injury lawyers, experts and professionals strive for justice and fairness in the form of compensation for victims of falling object accidents.

We are dedicated to seeking justice and fair financial compensation for those who are facing a future that has been forever altered by the negligent act of another. When you are looking to file an injury claim, you need to know that you have the best working on your side.

Over the years, our team has been successful in recovering rightly-owed compensation in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. This is a testimony to our ability to help our clients in some of the most complex injury litigation.

When filing a medical malpractice injury claim, you only have one opportunity to secure a settlement; once you accept an offer, you cannot turn around to get more money if you realize that it will not cover the extent of the damages. To help you better understand what the settlement should cover, the team at The Personal Injury Help Center will help you:

Make sure your injury claim covers all of your medical expenses. This includes hospital bills, rehabilitation, future medical costs, costs of medication, future doctor visits, caretaker costs, and reconstructive surgery.

Make sure the settlement covers monetary damages. This includes property damage or car damage, lost earnings and wages, and future loss of earnings.

Make sure you are compensated for other miscellaneous damages. These include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and out of pocket expenses.

To learn more about Medical Malpractice Injury claims and find out how you can obtain compensation for the injuries that you have sustained in any type of accident, complete the Free Case Evaluation form.