It’s not easy to launch a successful medical malpractice suit. Only 42% of claims ever make it to settlement or trial.
Thus it’s important to know what you’d have to prove to make a successful claim. This will help guide you even before you choose an attorney, allowing you to understand what evidence you should be collecting.
A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed
Before you can bring a medical malpractice suit, a doctor-patient relationship must exist.
In general, a patient-physician relationship forms when the physician “affirmatively acts in a patient’s case by examining, diagnosing, treating, or agreeing to do so.” Once the physician acts in this fashion he has a duty of care towards the patient.
If you never see the doctor and they never take any of these “affirmative actions” then a doctor-patient relationship does not typically exist.
The Doctor Acted Negligently
Doctors are considered to have acted negligently if they failed to uphold a reasonable standard of care. The standard of care is “a duty determined by a given set of circumstances that present in a particular patient.“
It essentially asks whether any competent medical professional would have acted in the same way given the same patient, the same circumstances, and the same equipment. It may also ask if the physician engaged in adequate communication with the patient to make a reasonable diagnosis, or whether the physician ordered appropriate testing.
The Negligence Was the Cause of the Patient’s Injury or Death
If there’s no actual loss, you don’t have a case. There’s also no case if there was a loss, but the loss was caused by something other than what the doctor did.
This happens more often than you might think. A preexisting medical condition could rear its head and cause a problem, for example. It takes an experienced medical malpractice attorney to keep these sorts of case facts from muddying the waters and providing the doctor or hospital with a viable defense.
The Injury Resulted in Compensable Damages
If the injury is basically harmless there is no case. Yet if you had additional medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering above and beyond what you would have suffered normally as a result of the injury or illness you presented with, mental anguish, scarring, disfigurement, disability or a loss of earning capacity then you can have those losses compensated with a medical malpractice suit.
If the patient died, their loved ones can press a medical malpractice wrongful death suit to recover compensation for the expenses and loss of income created by the loss of their loved one, as well as for emotional losses.
So, do you have a medical malpractice case?
Despite this information, you shouldn’t do guesswork about whether you have a case or not. Reach out to one of our lawyers to get a case review.
If we decide you have a case, involving us early will make your case stronger. This is because it will give us a head start on securing evidence that might otherwise be difficult to locate.
Contact us to get started today.