Recognizing And Proving Your Medical Malpractice Case
When something goes wrong at a doctors office or hospital, many of us are aware of the possibility that we may be victims of malpractice. But what is malpractice, and how does anybody actually know if their doctor is liable?
Who is Liable and When?
Remember that any medical professional can be liable for committing malpractice—not just doctors. Radiologists, Osteopaths, nurses, acupuncturists, and any other medical field or specialty of almost any kind, can be liable to you for malpractice.
It’s natural to think that when something goes wrong, or when a medical procedure doesn’t cure or fix what it’s supposed to, that the doctor must have been negligent. But just having a “bad medical outcome” doesn’t mean there has actually been any negligence.
Rather, the most important question is whether a medical professional has breached his or her standard of care. The law asks whether another doctor (or medical professional), in the same field as your doctor, would have done the same thing as your doctor did. Another way of putting this is, if you were a doctor, would you or could you have reasonably made the same decisions or did the same things as your doctor did?
Experts and the Pre Suit Process
Often, your malpractice lawyer will have his or her own expert doctor review your medical records, to make that determination. In fact, the law requires that an expert render an opinion that your doctor did something negligent, before you can even file your lawsuit.
The expert will review your records, and your condition, and after speaking with your attorney, the expert may say that what your doctor did was careless, unreasonable, or just not within the accepted standard of care for a medical professional.
If that’s the case, you still can’t just run into court and sue; the law requires that you exchange documents with the allegedly negligent doctor, and make a settlement offer to the other side to try to resolve the case, often through mediation or arbitration. Only after all of those steps are done, will you be allowed to file a malpractice case.
Types of Malpractice Cases
A doctor can be liable for doing something wrong, but can also be liable for simply doing nothing.
Doctors may misidentify your symptoms, thinking they are one thing when they are actually something else. Or, the doctor may dismiss you entirely, saying you are fine, or you just have something minor, when in fact, you have a much more serious condition.
The loss of time from the misdiagnosis can cause whatever disease or illness you do have to progress, making it even worse and less treatable than it would have been, had it been correctly diagnosed in the first place.
Doctors can also prescribe the wrong medicine, or fail to recognize that it may be dangerous for you to take a particular medicine.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you think that you may have been a victim of medical malpractice.