Medical malpractice is negligence of a healthcare professional, which leads to injury of a patient with whom they have or had a professional relationship.
The category of healthcare professional includes not only doctors, nurses and dentists, but also professionals such as chiropractors, occupational therapists, midwives, social workers and psychologists. Generally, the professional will have had training and will be licensed in their field.
These types of licensed professionals are held to a standard of care for their profession, and when they deviate from it, they may be held liable.
Medical malpractice liability refers to which person or parties should be held legally responsible for the patient’s injuries.
This is usually the party that breached their duty of care, and was the actual cause of the patient’s injuries. But in some cases, it can be difficult to tell exactly who the liable parties are.
For instance, medical malpractice liability can often involve more than one party. It is possible for medical malpractice liability may be split between both a doctor and nurse whose negligence caused the injury.
For instance, if incorrect instructions were given, or if one professional failed to correct the other, there may be a chance that both parties can be held liable.
A hospital organization can also sometimes be held liable for malpractice, especially in cases where the overall policy or quality of care of the hospital is substandard.
While medical malpractice includes any negligence that occurred during the course of medical treatment, these are some of the most common medical malpractice claims:
Several elements must be established in order to prove liability for medical malpractice:
Additionally, if a lawsuit is brought against a hospital, its negligence in training or supervising the professional must be shown. Local, state or federal agencies that operate hospitals may also be included in the lawsuit.
There are several defenses that are available for healthcare professionals who are accused of medical malpractice. Some defenses that are used in a medical malpractice claim are:
Recovery in medical malpractice suits is typically divided into economic and non-economic damages:
While economic damages are almost always recoverable, many states impose limits on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. These states argue that arbitrarily high damages awards drive up insurance premiums and discourage medical practice.
Other states have gone the opposite route and have actually forbidden caps on non-economic damages. These states argue that legislatively imposed caps on recovery are arbitrary and violate the constitutional right to a trial by jury, and that damages should be assessed by juries on a case-by-case basis.
If you are suffering from injury as the result of treatment by a healthcare professional, and believe the injury resulted from their negligence, you should consider contacting a personal injury lawyer sooner rather than later.
They can first determine whether you are within the statute of limitations for your state, and then can evaluate the details of your case for the possibility of filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice.
Last Modified: 07-12-2018 02:13 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.