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Understanding Medical Malpractice: What You Need to Know

Understanding Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to meet the standard of care during the diagnosis, treatment or aftercare, resulting in injury or death to a patient. Medical malpractice can take many forms including misdiagnoses, prescription errors or even surgical negligence. For the injured patient, it is critical to be familiar with your state’s statutes of limitation and the resources available to obtain legal help.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys

A medical malpractice attorney is a lawyer who specializes in cases involving medical negligence or injury. This kind of attorney is well-versed in understanding and interpreting the legal rights and responsibilities of health care providers, as well as the specific laws governing medical malpractice claims. Depending on the state, a medical malpractice lawyer may help victims pursue a civil lawsuit or assist them in filing a medical malpractice claim with their medical insurance provider.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm from Unsplash

Statutes of Limitations

All states in the United States have “statutes of limitations” that determine the time period in which a medical malpractice claim can be made. Depending on the state, the statutes of limitation might differ for adults and minors. For example, in California, a medical malpractice claim must be made within three years of the alleged injury, while in Florida the statute of limitations is two years. It is important to check the specific laws in your state when filing a medical malpractice claim.

Medical Malpractice Settlement Calculator

When pursuing a medical malpractice claim, an injured patient might be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. A medical malpractice settlement calculator can help you determine the potential value of your claim. The calculator takes into consideration factors such as ongoing medical expenses, lost wages and permanent disability.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim

There are four essential elements to a medical malpractice claim: duty of care, negligence, causation and damages. In order to file a claim, a plaintiff must show that the health care provider had a duty to provide competent and reasonable care to the patient, failed to do so and that this negligence caused injury or death to the patient.

Common Questions About Medical Malpractice

  • What do medical malpractice lawyers do?

    Medical malpractice lawyers work to obtain financial compensation for those who have suffered injuries due to negligence in providing medical care. They do so by building and arguing the case in court or by negotiating a beneficial settlement for their client.

  • Is medical malpractice a personal injury?

    Yes, medical malpractice is a form of personal injury. If someone is injured or killed due to negligence in providing medical care, the injured or surviving family members have the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

  • Where to report medical malpractice?

    If you believe medical malpractice has occurred, it is important to immediately report it to the appropriate authorities. Depending on the situation, you should notify the relevant administrative bodies, hospital credentialing departments, medical practitioners or the relevant legal ombudsmen.

Winning Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases can be challenging to win. A medical malpractice attorney may seek the help of medical experts, who can provide insight into the medical protocols and procedures in a particular case, and help strengthen the claim. Additionally, it is important for the plaintiff to be able to prove that the medical practitioner was negligent, that the negligence was the direct cause of injury, and that it resulted in actual damages.

Understanding the legal laws and resources available in your state, and talking to a qualified medical malpractice attorney can help you decide if filing a medical malpractice claim is the best course of action for you.

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