Do you suspect you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice? You may be in a dilemma about pursuing compensation or seeking better medical care if you haven’t already. As we all know, hospital bills can be hefty, and they only worsen if they result from someone else’s negligence.
Navigating a medical malpractice case can be very taxing. The good news is you can always get a personal injury attorney to help you navigate each step of your claim.
Before you decide to go to court, here are some things you need to know.
What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice
1. What Does Medical Malpractice Entail?
For medical malpractice to happen, the medical practitioner must have breached the standard of care. Any injury that comes from an action or inaction of a medical practitioner results in medical malpractice. Some of the most common examples that may result in medical malpractices include:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Unnecessary or incorrect surgery
- Premature discharge
- Medication mistakes
- Failure to order appropriate tests or to act on results
- Leaving things inside the patient’s body after surgery
- Lack of sufficient follow-up
- Persistent pain after surgery
- Potentially fatal infections acquired in the hospital
2. What Should You Do If You Think You’ve Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
The first step would be to move to another hospital or change your doctor if you are still in the care of the ones you suspect to be negligent. Also, request for all your medical records and all other relevant documents such as prescriptions and doctor’s notes.
Finally, get an attorney. They will be able to assess the merits of your case and advise you on the necessary steps to take. Most experienced attorneys do not take such cases unless the malpractice is documented in the records. If your attorney is confident your case will hold up in court, they will proceed with the matter accordingly.
3. A Bad Outcome Is Not Always an Indication of Malpractice
Every medical procedure has risks, and different patients have different responses. Even with the best doctors and the best health care, a patient’s health can deteriorate without warning. While a bad outcome often proves malpractice, it does not always indicate malpractice occurred.
4. Medical Malpractice Cases Have a High Probability of Failure
Proving malpractice is a very complex task. It is estimated medical errors kill roughly 200,000 patients in the U.S. each year. Yet only 15% of the personal injury lawsuits filed annually involve medical malpractice claims. More than 80% of those lawsuits end with no payment to the injured patient or their survivors.
Before taking your case to court, the following elements must be present:
- There must be a doctor-patient relationship
- You must be able to prove negligence was present
- You must be able to prove your injury resulted from negligent behavior
- You must be able to present proof of damages from the injury
5. Settle or Go to Court?
Most insurance companies prefer to settle with the victim rather than go to court. Litigation is stressful, time-consuming, and very costly. To avoid going to court, the medical workers involved and the hospital management often issue an honest apology to the victim.
Insurance firms prefer pre-court settlements to avoid paying huge sums in settlements once a lawyer is involved. If you decide to settle, ensure you are not getting the short end of the stick.
The World of Medical Malpractice Isn’t Always Black and White
You deserve justice, especially if you’ve suffered a loss due to medical negligence. Although settlement is the expected outcome, that might not always be the case. Getting a lawyer or deciding to settle increases your chances of getting your claim.