Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other medical/healthcare worker performs his or her duties in a manner that is negligent. This means, the worker’s action or non-action does not meet the industry standard of care and, as a result, the patient suffers injury.
Medical malpractice can take many possible forms. Many cases involve mistakes or momentary lapses in judgment on the part of healthcare professionals; however, this does not excuse injuries that otherwise could have been avoided. Whether medical negligence is intentional or not, those in the healthcare profession must be accountable when they provide care that falls below a reasonable standard.
There are three critical components to establishing your claim in a medical malpractice case: liability, causation, and damages. For your case to have merit, it must have all of these components.
Liability represents the legal responsibility an individual has for their actions or omissions. Liability must be established by first finding evidence that the medical professional in question had a responsibility to act, and then where they failed to uphold that responsibility. An example would be the duty of a medical professional to read and accurately interpret tests performed to diagnose a patient: if said professional is negligent in reading the test, they are a liable party.
Causation represents the relationship between a medical professional's conduct and the ultimate outcome of their actions. That a medical professional was negligent is not sufficient grounds for a medical malpractice case, a connection must be made between said physician's professional negligence and the injury sustained. To continue on the prior example, if the doctor's failure to accurately interpret the test resulted in a patient's care being delayed, there exists causation between said physicians actions and the patient's outcome.
Damages in medical malpractice represent an array of factors. In addition to the physical pain and suffering that results from negligent care, there are also the economic damages sustained through time at work missed, future income lost due to disability, and long term care related to injuries resulting from medical malpractice. For example, if the patient from the previous example had suffered a serious injury as a result of the delayed diagnosis and required in-home help for the rest of their life, they would be entitled to compensation for not only their pain and suffering, but the cost of future in-home help, as well as the income they have lost as a consequence of their injuries.
If you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact the Law Office of Douglas Malcolm today for a free consultation.