Malpractice arises when a professional makes a serious error in the services that they provide and, as a result, a patient or client suffers physical or financial harm. Malpractice lawsuits or claims are typically filed against a licensed professional, which may include a:
- Health care provider, for example, a:
- dentist; or
- chiropractor; and
- Their employer.
Malpractice claims must show that the action that caused the error fell below a certain level of care and that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice arises when a medical professional, doctor, or other healthcare organization falls below the standard of care that is required when they are diagnosing, treating, or managing a patent and that results in injury to the patient. The deviation from the standard of care that is required for all medical professionals often stems from an act of negligence.
Medical malpractice laws allow injured patents to bring claims against negligent medical professionals. These claims allow them to recover damages for the harms that were caused by the substandard conduct.
Whether or not a medical professional may be held liable for the injuries a patent sustained will depend on the specific facts of the case as well as the requirements of the medical malpractice laws that apply in the state. In certain cases, the standards and regulations for medical malpractice may vary even between different jurisdictions in the same state.
Therefore, if an individual believes that they have sustained injuries as a result of medical malpractice, they should consult a local personal injury attorney to find out more about the laws that apply in their state.
What Is Medical Malpractice Liability?
Medical malpractice liability is a legal term meaning the individuals or organizations that can be held legally responsible for a patient’s injuries. Typically, this party is the one that breached their duty of care and was the actual cause of the injuries the patient sustained.
However, it may be difficult to determine which party is liable because medical malpractice liability commonly involves multiple parties. For example, it may be possible for a doctor and their nurse or other medical personnel to split liability when their combined negligent conduct resulted in a patient’s injury.
Suppose, for example, that improper instructions were provided or one medical professional failed to correct the other, then there is a chance that both parties may be held liable for their mistakes.
Additionally, the organization, such as the hospital organization may also be held liable for medical malpractice. This applies especially in cases where the organization’s overall policy or quality of care for patients falls below the necessary standard of care.
There are numerous parties that may be held liable for medical malpractice, including:
- General practitioners;
- Gynecologists; and
- Clerical staff.
What Is Chiropractor Malpractice?
Chiropractor malpractice arises when a chiropractor fails to meet the medical standard of care for their profession, resulting in injuries to the patient. If a chiropractor’s conduct caused your injuries, it may be possible to file a professional negligence lawsuit against the chiropractor.
Although the patient will still be required to prove the elements of regular negligence, this type of lawsuit is more complicated because a chiropractor is held to a higher standard. Essentially, the individual will be required to prove that the chiropractor failed to provide them with the care that a careful, competent and skilled chiropractor would have done.
What Do I Have to Show to Prove Chiropractor Malpractice?
As noted above, in order to prevail in a professional negligence lawsuit suit based on chiropractor malpractice, the following elements of regular negligence will have to be proved:
- Duty: The plaintiff must show that a chiropractor owed a duty to them. A chiropractor who accepts an individual as a patient and agrees to treat them owes them a duty of reasonable care;
- Breach: The plaintiff must show a breach of duty by the chiropractor because the chiropractor failed to act as a careful, competent and skilled chiropractor would have;
- Causation: The plaintiff must show that the chiropractor’s conduct caused the individual’s injuries; and
- Damages: The plaintiff must show that harm actually occurred. This usually can be shown through medical bills or other expenses that the patient had to pay because they were injured.
If an individual goes to trial, they may need to hire an expert witness to testify regarding the standard of care for the treatment they received and how that standard was not met. In this type of case, the expert witness would typically be another chiropractor.
In addition, if an individual was required to see another chiropractor or medical doctor to treat the injuries that they suffered as a result of the negligence that occurred, these individuals could be key witnesses to help prove the plaintiff’s case.
What Are Some Common Examples of Chiropractor Malpractice?
There are several common examples of chiropractor malpractice including:
- Failing to diagnose an underlying condition or failure to run additional tests to make a diagnosis;
- Making a misdiagnosis;
- Failing to warn the patient of the risks that may be associated with the treatment provided; and
- Choosing a course of treatment that caused injury to the patient.
If an individual is able to prove that harm actually occurred as a result of malpractice, they may be entitled to compensatory damages. These types of damages are used to compensate plaintiffs for their injuries and costs associated with treatment and recovery.
What Are Some Common Defenses in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
It is important to be aware that there are several defenses a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit may be able to present against the plaintiff’s claims, including:
- Statute of limitations: An individual’s time limit to file a specific legal claim is known as the statute of limitations. Many states require that a plaintiff file a medical malpractice action within 2 years;
- If this time limit has passed, then a plaintiff will be barred from bringing the lawsuit and thus will lose their chance to recover for their injuries;
- It is important to note that these time limits may vary by jurisdiction;
- Contributory negligence: In states that follow contributory negligence theory, this defense can prevent a plaintiff from recovering from their injuries. The defendant must show that the plaintiff’s negligent conduct contributed to their injuries, and, therefore, the defendant cannot be held solely responsible for the harm;
- States that apply this doctrine in full will bar a plaintiff from recovering;
- However, if the state follows the modified comparative negligence theory, plaintiffs who are less than 51% at fault for their injuries may still be able to recover some amount of damages, although they will be reduced; and
- Lack of proof or fault: If a plaintiff fails to show that the medical professional fell below the standard duty of care or is unable to show that they were responsible for the patient’s injuries, it may serve as a defense to the claim.
Should I Consult a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have been injured as a result of chiropractor malpractice, it is essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Your lawyer can advise you of the laws in your state, how they may affect your claim, and represent you in court if a lawsuit is filed.