Medical Malpractice FAQ
If you or a loved one has been injured in a medical setting as the result of professional negligence, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your losses and suffering through a medical malpractice claim. The following are some frequently asked questions about medical malpractice to help you gain a greater understanding about this type of legal case.
- What is medical malpractice?
- What are some examples of medical malpractice?
- How common is medical malpractice?
- Who can file a medical malpractice claim?
- Who can be sued for medical malpractice?
- What do I have to prove in my medical malpractice case?
- What is a statute of limitations?
- What damages can I recover through a medical malpractice lawsuit?
- What should I do if I feel I might have a medical malpractice case?
- How do I contact a qualified attorney near me?
Medical malpractice is a medical professional's failure to act as a reasonable and prudent medical professional would under similar circumstances. If a medical professional's actions, negligence, or other wrongdoing causes injury or illness to a patient, the aggrieved party may be eligible to file a legal claim to seek compensation for their losses and suffering.
Medical malpractice can involve medical errors and mistakes made by hospitals, doctors, and other medical professionals. It may also involve sub-standard care and failure to perform a necessary function in order to prevent causing harm to a patient. Examples of medical malpractice can include failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, prescription errors, surgical errors, birth injuries, nursing home abuse, and more.
Medical mistakes are a national epidemic. According to Harvard studies, nearly 98,000 people die as a result of medical malpractice each year in the United States. Thousands more Americans are injured are suffer illness as a result of medical errors annually. Despite this high incidence of medical malpractice, experts predict only two percent of injured patients seek compensation through a lawsuit.
Any party who has been injured or suffered illness as a result of a medical professional's wrongdoing or negligence has the right to file a medical malpractice claim. In the event that a child suffers a birth injury or other condition at the hands of a medical professional, the child's family has the legal right to seek compensation in a civil case. In a case where medical malpractice resulted in the death of a loved one, the patient's dependants and beneficiaries may be eligible to file a claim.
State-specific statutes largely determine the specific answer to this question. Generally speaking, any party who caused injury to a patient as a result of professional negligence or wrongdoing may be held liable for medical malpractice. General physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, emergency care professionals, nurses, private hospitals, and government institutions may be held responsible for patient injuries caused by medical malpractice.
There are three basic elements which must be proven during the course of a medical malpractice case. First, the plaintiff (injured party) must show that the defendant failed to act in accordance with the established standards of medical practice. This often requires expert medical testimony confirming the defendant committed medical malpractice. Next, it must be proved that the negligence or wrongdoing resulted in the patient's injury or suffering (proximate cause). Lastly, the damages caused by the medical malpractice must be shown.
Every state has established a statute of limitations which applies to medical malpractice cases. A statute of limitations dictates the time an injured party has to file a lawsuit after experiencing medical malpractice. In most cases, this time begins when the incident occurs, though sometimes it begins when the party discovers that medical malpractice was responsible for their injury or illness. Statute of limitations differs by state and circumstance. Therefore, it is important to speak with a qualified and experienced legal expert as soon as possible to protect and maximize your interests.
There are several types of economic and non-economic damages that may be sought in a medical malpractice case. Medical expenses, lost income, lost or diminished earning capacity, and other out-of-pocket expenses may be recovered. If the patient died, funeral and related expenses may also be awarded. An injured party may also seek restitution for non-economic losses related to pain and suffering. This can include past, present, and future suffering. Disfigurement and disability are also examples of non-economic losses which may be suffered by victims of medical malpractice. When the actions were gross or intentional, punitive damages may also be awarded to prevent the defendant and others from committing similar acts in the future.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury and loss at the hands of a medical professional or institution, speaking with a qualified attorney is the best way to protect and maximize your legal interests. Due to statutes of limitations, it is important to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can speak with you about your case to determine the ideal course of action. This legal expert will evaluate every detail of your case to ensure no detail is overlooked when determining liability for your losses and suffering.
Use the drop-down menu below to find an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area. Our attorneys have years of experience successfully handling medical malpractice cases and protecting people against negligent medical professionals.
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