Medical Malpractice: Do You Have A Case?

If you have suffered an injury at the hands of a medical professional, you may be considering a medical malpractice case.  The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical negligence. Before you file a lawsuit, you need to understand what constitutes medical negligence on the part of your healthcare provider. 

What is Negligence?

True medical negligence means that your doctor failed to provide a proper diagnosis or treatment. The doctor has to be "reasonably skillful and careful" and meet the "medical standard of care," which is defined as "the level at which the average, prudent provider in a given community would practice." Doctors do not have to be stars in their field, but they have to be competent.

Did Negligence Cause the Injury?

Even if negligence occurred, it might not have caused the injury to you. If you have an underlying illness, it could be hard to prove that what your doctor did or did not do contributed to your condition or injury. For instance, if you have diabetes and end up losing a foot to the disease, you would have to prove that the amputation is a direct result of your doctor's negligence and not of the disease itself. 

Were You Harmed?

To win a medical malpractice case, you need to prove that your doctor's negligence caused you harm. This aspect may be the most difficult to prove. You have to demonstrate that you suffered psychological, physical, or financial harm. Sometimes the damage you receive may not manifest for years, so, at the time of the lawsuit, you may not know what the long-term effects will be on your health. This uncertainty makes estimating lost earnings and potential medical bills difficult. 

The Odds

Although medical errors may kill up to 200,000 people in the U.S. each year, only a small percentage of these deaths lead to lawsuits and even fewer result in damages being awarded to the plaintiffs. 

Successfully pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit requires that you can prove negligence occurred and that you suffered specific harm from that negligence. Only a professional malpractice lawyer can determine if you have a good case although you can take some preliminary steps yourself by learning the standards used to judge medical malpractice. Although proving your case can be difficult, hiring an expert in the field will give you a much better chance at receiving a settlement. 

For more information, go to sites for malpractice attorneys.