At one point, researchers estimated that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. The most alarming part of the 2016 study is that the numbers may be even higher due to poor reporting.
It is not just a privilege for someone to get proper care when treated by medical professionals and institutions — it’s the law.
Patients who experience negligent or inadequate medical care have the right to make a personal injury claim in the court of law.
Medical malpractice is when a hospital, doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional causes injury to a patient due to negligence.
In other words, it is an act or omission during treatment by a healthcare professional that departs from the accepted standards of the medical community and leads to injury.
Medical malpractice is a subset of tort law, which is a body of law that aims to provide relief to people injured by others and prevent the harmful acts from happening again. The laws surrounding medical malpractice are not codified in federal law. Instead, medical malpractice law has typically fallen under the authority of the states.
The types of medical malpractice patients can experience are varied. These are some of the most common examples of negligent care.
According to a study that looked at medical malpractice claims around the world in 2013, death was the most common consequence in misdiagnosis claims.
These are some of the most common missed diagnoses:
In some of the most severe errors during surgery, surgeons have been known to leave items inside patients, including equipment and phones.
Another example of a surgical error is operating at the wrong site. One doctor was accused of amputating the wrong leg thanks to a series of errors.
If a doctor prescribes the wrong, too much, or too little medication, it could be classified as medical malpractice. Pharmacists or nurses can also be held accountable for errors in prescribing or administering prescription drugs.
Examples of errors during childbirth include inadequate care for the mother or baby, harmful medication administered to the mother, or a failure to anticipate complications.
Not every patient who suffers while in the care of a healthcare professional can claim medical malpractice. For the injury to be considered medical malpractice, the offending party must be found negligent.
Negligence is at the center of all personal injury lawsuits. According to Cornell Law School, negligence is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” It typically includes actions someone takes that result in injury, but it can also be an omission of duty.
Although the law differs by state, four elements are typically required to establish a case of negligence for medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are common. However, they can be complicated and time-consuming.
Attorneys have the skill and knowledge needed to bring medical malpractice lawsuits. This includes first-hand experience gathering the necessary documentation, thoroughly investigating local law, and negotiating with companies.
Not only do those who hire a lawyer for their medical malpractice suits often get larger settlements but they also report higher levels of satisfaction and peace of mind. Those who think they may have a case against a healthcare professional or institution should contact a lawyer to find out more about next steps.
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