Medical malpractice is a situation when a health care professional fails to provide the right treatment or take actions that cause harm or even death of the patient. This is usually medical negligence or unintentional mistake. The deciding factor on medical malpractice is in understanding if the health care professional has acted in a manner that is different from how the other professional would have reacted under the same situation. Extreme cases of medical malpractice might result in the cancellation of the doctor’s medical license.
What can be considered medical malpractice?
Lawyers in the United States lay down certain conditions that need to be met for a case to be considered as medical malpractice.
- The health professional has failed in providing certain standard care that is legally expected of them.
- The negligence should result in an injury or harm which would have otherwise not occurred. Without injury, there cannot be a case for medical malpractice.
- The onus is on the patient to prove that the injury has caused considerable damage which could be suffering, constant pain, disability, hardship, or loss of income.
Types of medical malpractice
Medical malpractice can be classified based on the mistake which causes the error.
- Inaccurate reading noted by the health care professional in the chart.
- Wrong prescription by the doctor or filling a prescription with the wrong medication by the pharmacist.
- Mistakes happening from the side of anesthesiologists while administering the anesthesia before surgery.
- Delay of diagnosis especially for terminal illness where even a day counts in saving a life.
- A misdiagnosis that can lead to the wrong prescription or surgery.
- Childbirth malpractice that can result in damaging the mother or baby permanently.
How medical malpractice is settled?
Certain cases of malpractice are clear without any room for doubt. An example would be the negligence on the part of a surgeon by conducting an operation on a wrong artery. There are also cases where the pieces of evidence for malpractice are not clear-cut. This can happen if any emergency situation made a doctor take a decision which ultimately backfires. These kinds of cases are usually dragged to the courtroom. Most cases are settled outside the court with the family receiving the settlement amount from the malpractice insurance.
In any medical malpractice case, the burden of proof lies on the patient or plaintiff. This often requires a thorough investigation of the medical records usually carried out with the help of experts. Settlement money is usually restricted to the monetary loss suffered due to the injuries. The monetary loss covers the lost wages, loss of consortium, and medical care expenses incurred.
Lawsuit and settlement is a tedious process where the insurance company tries to lower the settlement amount to the maximum. So it is advised to hire an expert attorney to fight the case. If the parties involved cannot come to an agreement on the settlement amount the case goes for trial and the jury would decide the settlement money which is final.