When a patient is harmed by a medical professional who doesn’t perform his or her medical duties in a competent manner, the patient may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. While rules can vary from state to state, there are general principles that apply to most of these cases. Here are 5 things to know about medical malpractice:
1. To prove that medical malpractice occurred, the patient must show that a doctor-patient relationship existed where the patient hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. A gray area can exist when a consulting physician did not directly treat the patient.
2. The patient must show that the doctor was negligent in connection with the diagnosis or treatment of the patient, and that the negligence caused injury to the patient. Most states require the patient to present a medical expert to explain the appropriate medical standard of care and how the defendant did not meet the standard. The patient must also show that the injury led to specific damages, such as physical pain or mental anguish.
3. Most medical malpractice claims arise from a doctor’s failure to diagnose an illness, a doctor’s improper treatment of a patient’s illness, or a doctor’s failure to warn a patient of any potential risks of a procedure or treatment.
4. Medical malpractice claims must be brought soon after the injury occurs. In most states, a claim must be presented within six months or up to two years, depending on the state. Many states also require the patient to first submit the claim to a malpractice review panel.
5. Be prepared to give the doctor notice of the malpractice claim before filing it, and be prepared to have someone offer expert testimony if your case goes to trial.
Medical malpractice law is highly regulated. The best way to have a successful claim is to be represented by an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. For more information, please contact:
Mertes & Mertes, P.C.
4015 E. Lincolnway
Sterling, IL 61081