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What is medical malpractice?

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is considered negligence and defined as a healthcare provider’s (doctor, nurse, etc.) violation of the standard of care, i.e., the failure to act as a reasonable, careful and prudent healthcare provider would do under similar circumstances.  If a healthcare provider’s failure to perform a necessary function, or negligence, or breach of the standard of care causes injury or harm to a patient the patient is entitled to recover compensation for the losses and damages suffered.

What are some examples of medical malpractice?

Examples of medical malpractice can include failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, prescription errors, surgical errors, birth injuries, nursing home abuse, and more.

How common is medical malpractice?

Preventable medical errors are a national epidemic. According to Harvard studies, between 100,000 and 250,000 people die from medical malpractice each year in the United States. Despite the high rate of medical malpractice, experts state that only 2% of injured patients seek compensation through a lawsuit.

What should I do if I feel I might have a medical malpractice case?

If you or a loved one has suffered injury and loss at the hands of a medical professional or institution, speaking with a qualified attorney is the best way to protect and maximize your legal interests. Due to statutes of limitations, it is important to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can speak with you about your case to determine the ideal course of action. This legal expert will evaluate every detail of your case to ensure no detail is overlooked when determining liability for your losses and suffering.

Who can be sued for medical malpractice?

State-specific statutes largely determine the specific answer to this question. Generally speaking, any party who caused injury to a patient as a result of professional negligence or wrongdoing may be held liable for medical malpractice. General physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, emergency care professionals, nurses, private hospitals, and government institutions may be held responsible for patient injuries caused by medical malpractice.

Who can file a medical malpractice claim?

Any party who has been injured or harmed due to a healthcare provider’s careless or preventable error has the right to file a claim. In the event that a child is harmed, the child's family or parents may have the right to seek compensation in a civil case. In a case where medical malpractice resulted in a patient’s death, the patient's surviving spouse and children may be eligible to file a claim.

What do I have to prove in my medical malpractice case?

There are three basic elements to prove in a medical malpractice case. First, the injured party must show that the healthcare provider was negligent and breached the standard of care, i.e., failed to act in a careful and prudent manner that a similar healthcare provider would do in a similar situation. Typically, you must use another expert (doctor, nurse, psychologist, etc.) to prove that a violation of the standard of care has occurred. Second, you must prove that the standard of care violation proximately caused the patient’s injury or harm. Finally, you must prove that the patient has incurred damages that are not speculative.

What damages can I recover through a medical malpractice lawsuit?

There are two categories of damages that may be recovered: Economic and Non-Economic. Economic damages are usually objective losses, like medical expenses, lost income, lost or diminished earning capacity, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-Economic damages are subjective losses, like pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life.

Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.