Medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. If you have been injured by a doctor, you may be wondering if you have a medical malpractice claim.
Generally speaking, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other health care professional or facility injures a patient by failing to treat the patient within the appropriate standard of care. Doctors are not the only health care professionals that make mistakes. You can have a medical malpractice claim if you were harmed by a nurse, physical therapist, or other health care worker. You may even have a claim if you suffered an injury due to a mistake on the part of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.
Medical mistakes can also happen in a variety of settings. Although most people associate medical malpractice with hospitals, these injuries occur in doctors’ offices, emergency rooms, urgent care centers, nursing homes, and retail stores that have in-store pharmacies. If a health care professional failed to provide you or a loved one with reasonable care, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
The Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
It’s not enough to claim you were injured by a doctor. To bring a medical malpractice claim, you must prove several things – the “elements” of a med mal claim.
Duty of care. First, you must establish that the doctor or hospital owed you a duty of care. You establish this by showing you had a doctor-patient relationship, or similar relationship in the case of a non-physician, with the doctor who caused your injury.
Breach of the duty of care. You must also show that the doctor or hospital violated the duty of care. This is typically the most difficult to prove element in a medical malpractice case. You must show that the doctor failed to provide care similar to that of other professionals in the same area of practice in the same geographic region. For example, you would not compare the level of care given by an orthopedic surgeon to that given by an obstetrician, nor would you compare the standard of care in rural Kansas to that in uptown Manhattan.
An injury occurred. You must have suffered an injury caused by the breach of the duty of care. If you did not suffer an injury, or your injury was not caused by your doctor’s breach of the duty of care, you don’t have a medical malpractice claim, even if you can show the doctor breached the duty of care.
Damages. You must be able to prove that your injury caused you to suffer damages. In many cases, damages are quite obvious. When you are in pain, or you have been forced to undergo additional procedures, it’s easy to point out damages. However, other cases aren’t as obvious. Certain medical injuries take months or even years to develop. In these cases, proving damages can be a bit more complicated.
Without all four elements, you don’t have the fundamental pieces required to bring a medical malpractice case.
At LawMD, many of our lawyers are doctors themselves. We use our clinical training to quickly analyze cases to determine if a client’s claim meets all the elements required for a medical malpractice case. If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, we can help.
Talk to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you have been injured by a doctor’s negligence, we want to hear from you. Our lawyers come from a variety of medical and legal backgrounds. We are confident we can assist you. Call 888-MY-LAWMD ( 888-695-2963 ) to receive your free consultation.