Medical Malpractice Negligence
What is Medical Malpractice Negligence?
Medical malpractice negligence occurs when medical care is provided by a doctor, physician, or other health care professional in a way that is inconsistent with the standards of care for that type of treatment. Medical malpractice negligence, or “medical negligence”, can often result in new injuries to the patient in addition to the condition they are being treated for.
Some common examples of medical malpractice negligence can include:
- Performing the wrong surgery or procedure on the patient
- Subscribing the wrong medications, or incorrect dosages of medications
- Leaving a wound untreated
- Failing to remove equipment or bandaging from an incision, or from within the body
- Offering the patient the wrong advice, especially with regards to prescription medication instructions
Thus, medical malpractice negligence can be based on a number of different types of injuries. The main aspect of medical malpractice negligence claims involves the doctor’s duty of care to the patient.
How is Medical Malpractice Negligence Proven?
Negligence is best understood as the legal theory by which most medical malpractice claims are proven. That is, a patient is able to recover for their injuries or economic losses by proving that the health care provider was negligent by legal standards.
Proving negligence requires that the following elements be satisfied:
- Existence of duty: By virtue of the profession, all medical professionals owe a basic duty of care to the patient. However, the exact standard of care may depend on the professional’s field practice (i.e. a pediatrician may have a slightly different duty of care than a surgeon, etc.).
- Breach of duty: The medical professional must have acted in some way that breached their duty of care. For instance, they may have failed to follow surgery guidelines, wrote a wrong prescription, etc.
- Causation: The breach of duty must be the direct and actual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries and/or economic losses. Causation can become more complicated if multiple parties may be liable, or if the patient had pre-existing injuries.
- Damages: The negligent conduct must have caused actual, measurable damages. Imaginary losses that cannot be proven generally cannot be compensated for.
What are Some Remedies for Medical Malpractice Negligence?
Of course, remedies for medical malpractice negligence cases will depend on the exact injuries and losses experienced by the plaintiff. However, in most cases the plaintiff will be granted an economic damages award to reimburse them for their losses. These can include the medical and hospital costs, payment for medicine and other treatments, and sometimes other related expenses like lost work wages.
However, you should note that every state has medical malpractice laws, which may be very different depending on the state. For instance, the medical standards of care may differ from region to region. Also, some state limits on medical malpractice awards may prevent the plaintiff from claiming excessive or unreasonable amounts of damages in their claim.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Filing a Medical Malpractice Negligence Claim?
Medical malpractice can often lead to serious injuries and financial losses. If you believe that you have been injured due to the negligence of your doctor or health care provider, you may have a claim for medical malpractice negligence. It’s in your best interests to hire a lawyer if you need help filing a lawsuit for damages. A qualified attorney in your area can provide you with expert legal advice and representation during the course of the lawsuit.
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Last Modified: 08-26-2013 05:15 PM PDT
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