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Your Health, Your Rights: Understanding Medical Malpractice

"Medical malpractice" is a term that keeps popping up, particularly in the realm of law. The meaning, however, is lost on many. Does it qualify as medical malpractice if you had an unpleasant encounter at a hospital that led to some difficulty? Or is the phrase only used when a person dies as a direct consequence of medical care deemed inappropriate?

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a term used to describe neglect, inappropriate treatment, the omission of care, or substandard care that results in injury, harm, or death for a patient.

Hospitals and medical professionals are expected to provide a certain standard of care for their patients. While medical professionals aren’t responsible for every hardship their patients face, they are responsible if that hardship comes as a result of the professional offering a standard of care that is less than expected in similar situations.

Qualifications for Medical Malpractice

Several elements must be taken into account for medical malpractice to be a valid issue, including the following:

  • Not giving the appropriate level of high-quality treatment
  • Negligence that causes damage or injury
  • Injury with adverse effects (constant pain, loss of income, etc.)

You could have a case for medical malpractice if one of the circumstances above applies to you or someone you care about.

The fact that the patient under their care suffered severe injury or perhaps died proves that the doctor or other medical practitioner violated the standard of care they are obliged to deliver.

Types of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice may take many forms in a healthcare environment. Misdiagnosis, in which a patient is given the incorrect diagnosis or treatment plan; surgical errors, in which mistakes are made during a surgical operation; and pharmaceutical errors, in which the incorrect medicine or dose is prescribed or supplied, are some prominent instances. Birth injuries, improper site surgery, and failure to detect or treat a medical problem are examples of medical negligence.

The statute of limitations

The statute of limitations refers to the time restriction within which a medical negligence complaint may be brought. It varies by state and is often dependent on the date of the claimed malpractice or the date of discovery of the harm. It is critical to be aware of your state's statute of limitations, since failing to do so may result in the inability to take legal action.

Proving Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice must be shown by demonstrating that the medical practitioner strayed from the standard of care and that this departure caused injury to the patient. This entails establishing what the proper level of care in the particular scenario would have been and how the medical professional's actions or omissions fell short of that standard. Expert evidence may be required to determine the proper level of treatment and to explain how the departure harmed the patient.

Medical malpractice insurance

Medical malpractice insurance is carried by many medical professionals, including physicians, nurses, and hospitals, to protect themselves and their practices in the case of a lawsuit. This insurance may pay for legal defense and any damages received in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Settlement or trial

Medical malpractice lawsuits may be addressed by settlement, in which the parties agree to a financial compensation to the injured party, or through trial, in which the result of the case is decided by a judge or jury. Settlements are often made via discussions or mediation, in which a neutral third party assists in facilitating a conclusion. Going to trial may be a lengthier and more expensive procedure, but it may be required if the parties are unable to reach an agreement.

Have You Experienced Medical Malpractice?

If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, contact Wettermark Keith today. We won’t rest until you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation right away.

If you have experienced harm or injury as a result of medical treatment and believe it was caused by a breach from standards of care, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Consult a medical malpractice attorney immediately to see whether you have a valid claim.


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If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.