Medical malpractice claims can occur when doctors do not properly diagnose their patients and/or fail treating their patients. Generally, medical malpractice cases involve suffering injuries because of a doctor’s action or inaction. However, someone can file a claim if doctors do not receive proper consent before treating a patient, or if the medical treatment is improperly documented. One third of medical malpractice claims filed relate to patient deaths and 54% of the claims allege major or significant physical injury due to negligent medical treatment.
You must satisfy certain requirements before filing a negligence claim against your doctor. First, one must show a doctor-patient relationship between the person filing the lawsuit and the treating doctor. At times, the relationship is difficult to prove if the consulting physician does not treat someone directly.
One must then prove the doctor was negligent and caused harm. Usually, the standard question is if a competent doctor, under the same or similar circumstances, would have been more careful or acted the same. In other words, the doctor’s actions “more likely than not” caused one’s injury or death. It is important to show the injury led to one’s damages such as pain and suffering, excessive medical costs, and loss of income. You cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit if you did not suffer an injury.
Medical malpractice claims are complex and require expert testimony. An expert’s testimony can show a doctor’s actions were below the standard of care expected from them and therefore they were negligent. The qualifications of an expert vary depending on the state in which one is filing a lawsuit. Also, depending on the state, there may be a limit on the award amount available for the medical malpractice claimant. It is important to file a complaint as soon as possible after an injury to fully exercise your rights as a patient.
If you were injured by a neglectful medical provider, call Kershaw, Cook, & Talley at (916) 520-6639 for a free case consultation.