Medical lawsuits are primarily based on medical malpractice by a health care professional. This malpractice is when a medical practitioner is negligent in providing the necessary treatment, fails to take the required action, or provides a treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to the patient.
In essence, a medical error is involved for there to be malpractice. This error can be present in various ways, such as misdiagnosis, wrong medication or dosage, prescribed treatment, or even aftercare.
Medical malpractice law is based on the premise that the doctor or the health care professional is expected to maintain a standard of care and be legally responsible for any harm the patient experiences because of a deviation from the expected norm. The law in such a case provides a remedy in the form of compensation for the aggrieved party.
However, to achieve this compensation, several steps have to be taken to prove that the incident or malpractice took place because of which an individual was harmed, injured, or died. Such aspects of negligence are imperative to prove, and the best bet for help is a specialized law firm that deals with such cases and can help guide you for your claim.
One such place is Sokolove Law, which specializes in medical malpractice cases. You can even apply online to get a free case review.
Below, we have rounded up the needed requirements to file a medical lawsuit and any issues you should know about.
Requirements to file a medical lawsuit
1. There exists a duty of care owed by the health care professional
The responsibility of care is established when a physician-patient relationship with the practitioner you are claiming against. This relationship is established by proving that you had hired the practitioner and that the practitioner had agreed to be hired.
This is to filter out frivolous claims where a doctor can’t be sued for advising in a casual, informal setting. The duty required by the doctor is that they should be ‘reasonably skillful and careful.’
2. The duty of care was breached by the practitioner being negligent, and that led to harm
Many times we have been to a doctor and been unhappy with the treatment that they have provided or the results that it has shown. That, however, does not form the basis of a medical lawsuit. But if the medical practitioner was negligent in how they diagnosed or treated you, then there’s a case.
One essential aspect of proving medical malpractice is to confirm that the practitioner caused you harm or injury that any other competent practitioner in the same place would not have. Further, while fighting the case, you need to discuss the medical standard of care and how the practitioner breached it.
Along with this, you need to prove that this negligence was the reason that the harm occurred to the patient
3. The harm led to damages
Even if medical malpractice is proven, compensation cannot be received unless it is confirmed that the malpractice led to the patient suffering some harm. This harm can be in the form of physical injuries, mental anguish, extra bills, or inability to work and earn.
Issues specific to medical lawsuits
Review Panels for medical malpractice
Some states have an additional requirement before submitting the case to the courts. They require that the claimant submit the claim to a review panel that consists of medical and legal experts. They will then hear the arguments and review the evidence before concluding whether malpractice has occurred or not. This does not substitute an actual court trial and hence cannot end with damages being awarded. However, the findings of this panel can be presented in court and argued further.
Medical malpractice cases are time-barred
Most states by law require that the claim is brought about in a specific duration of time. This law is called the ‘statute of limitations and differs from state to state, and is most often between six months to two years.
If a claim is brought after that specific period has passed, the courts will dismiss the case regardless of the facts.
Compensation is limited
Many states have limited the amount of compensation that such a claim can receive. This is meant not to hinder medical practitioners and afford that protection.
Requirement of a special notice
In some states, it is also required that the medical practitioner be informed of the claim that they are facing in the form of a notice containing the description before filing the case.
Medical lawsuit cases can be costly and time-consuming. Hence you must consider all aspects before filing a claim. Don’t forget that compensation in such cases is limited, and the costs to fight the case for a minor injury may outweigh the reward you receive.
Fighting a medical malpractice case is also technical and is governed by a complex set of rules that vary in each state. That is why it is essential to get advice from or hire a specialized lawyer.