WorldExecutivesDigest.com | Medical Malpractice: How Difficult Is It to Prove? | The medical industry is wrought with overworked and undertrained health professionals. According to a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, medical malpractice has become the third leading cause of death in the United States. Through this study, it was discovered medical malpractice accounts for about 9.5% of all US deaths. With such staggering numbers, the public must be aware of their rights regarding medical malpractice claims.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional is negligent, causing injuries. The corpus christi injury attorneys are poised to help these victims realize their rights and work towards a fair outcome.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
There are multiple types of medical malpractice cases. It is imperative individuals are aware of the examples. This information will help patients to better protect themselves when under the care of any healthcare professional. The following are some examples of medical malpractice.
- Unnecessary surgery
- Failure to diagnose
- Misreading or ignoring test results
- Improper prescriptions or dosages
- Premature hospital discharges
- Ignoring the patient’s medical history
- Surgical errors
- Poor aftercare
- Failure to recognize the patient’s symptoms
- Failure to treat appropriately
Do Medical Malpractice Victims Need an Attorney?
Medical malpractice cases are difficult to pursue. The full burden of proof lies squarely on the shoulders of the victim. While it may be tempting for victims to pursue medical malpractice insurance claims alone, this is not advised.
Every medical professional must hold an insurance policy for malpractice. This means that every medical malpractice case first starts as a claim against the medical professional’s insurance company.
Dealing with insurance adjusters can be stressful. Getting legal help from the very beginning is wise.
Elements of Medical Malpractice Claims
To ensure a person can prove medical malpractice, there are a few elements that must exist in every case. If these elements cannot be proven, the case will probably result in an unfavorable outcome.
- The doctor, nurse, or medical professional must have deviated from the standard of care. The law states there are medical standards in place for patient care. When these are ignored, medical malpractice is often the result.
- An injury must have occurred as a direct result of the medical professional’s negligence or omission.
- The injury must have resulted in measurable damages of significance. A medical malpractice case is typically only viable when the plaintiff can prove significant damages.
If any of these elements cannot be established with proof, liability will be difficult or even impossible to prove. Getting help from an attorney is an important first step in protecting the rights of the victim and allowing them to receive sound guidance.
Why Is Medical Malpractice So Difficult to Prove?
There are multiple reasons medical malpractice cases are so difficult to prove in court. Being able to prove a case in court involves careful preparation and full knowledge of the law. The following are some reasons medical malpractice victims may face an uphill battle in court.
It is important to note that not all medical mistakes equate to medical malpractice. A victim does not have a viable claim simply because a provider made a mistake. The mistake must meet the criteria of medical negligence.
To prove the standards of care were neglected, individuals must bring in expert testimony. Gathering the right medical professionals is a lengthy and expensive process. It is crucial victims can establish the accepted protocol of treatment and that the medical professional deviated from the standard.
Medical evidence is complicated to decipher. The victim’s injuries may be documented over various medical records, including the following.
- Medical charts
- Doctor’s notes
- Lab tests
- Medication records
- X-rays and other imaging studies
Although a patient may have access to some of these, it can be time-consuming to gather them all. It is important patients have ample medical records to back up their malpractice claims.
Being able to prove causation can be arduous. Injured victims must successfully establish their injuries directly resulting from the doctor or medical care professional’s negligence or omission. This is not a simple task to accomplish and often requires legal intervention.
Health Care Workers
Often, injured victims must end up subpoenaing health care workers that may have witnessed the malpractice. Unfortunately, health care workers may be reluctant to testify for fear of being reprimanded on the job.
Hiring an Attorney Is Important
With so much at stake, it is wise for medical malpractice victims to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Waiting too long could result in lost evidence and time.
All states have a statute of limitations that must be followed. Once this period has ended, the injured victim no longer has a right to pursue their case in court or receive any form of compensation.
Meeting with an attorney will help injured victims learn about the rights they hold. At the consultation appointment, the victim will also discover the viability of their claim and what they can expect from the claims process or lawsuit.
Often, medical malpractice attorneys will work on contingency. Contingency cases do not require upfront payments, and the injured victim is not required to pay attorney’s fees unless they win in court.
With intervention from an attorney, injured victims will find it less stressful to prove their cases in court. An attorney becomes an advocate for their injured clients and works to protect their rights and best interests during the entire pursuit.
Although medical malpractice is difficult to prove, it is not impossible. With the right evidence and expert testimony, injured victims will be more likely to prove liability and their measurable damages in court.
An injured victim should schedule a consultation appointment. A consultation appointment starts the process. Once the attorney is hired, they will immediately go to work on gathering evidence and pursuing the insurance company of the at-fault medical professional.
With legal help, pursuing fair compensation for medical malpractice is easier and less stressful. The process takes time, but it will be worth the effort.