What is Medical Negligence & What to do about it

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Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, is an act or series of acts that don’t meet the standard of care for a particular profession, producing some kind of injury in the patient.

It doesn’t matter whether you refer to this aspect as medical negligence or a medical claim – the bottom line is there are certain things you have to prove to have a claim and to prevail on that claim.

Proving a medical claim is much more difficult than most people imagine. Of course, medical negligence happens – mistakes can happen. But a mistake doesn’t necessarily equate to medical negligence. In fact, medical negligence is completely different from a mistake that a doctor might make.

What is the Standard of Care?

The standard of care includes everything that a reasonable practitioner would do under the same circumstances. A doctor is negligent if they fail to use the skill that a reasonably careful medical professional would have used in the same circumstances.

This level of skill and care is known as the standard of care. An example of this would be that any reasonable doctor would take a urine test from a woman who falls in the age group where she can bear children before taking an x-ray.

If they don’t take the pregnancy test and proceed to take the x-ray, nonetheless, they can harm the fetus, which then falls into the category of medical negligence.

Unfortunately, in the hustle and bustle of the medical world, sometimes, people get overlooked and marginalized. This aspect is unfortunate because so much of what amounts to medical negligence comes from bad communication and failure to listen.

Medical negligence is all about not adhering to the standard of care. Medical negligence is about failing to do what a reasonable practitioner would do. Or – it could be about doing what a reasonable practitioner would never do.

Simply put – if you have that kind of error or that kind of medical negligence – then you potentially have a lawsuit. However, it is important to mention here that a bad outcome doesn’t mean medical negligence.

What are Potential Bad Medical Outcomes?

A bad outcome or a mistake doesn’t necessarily mean medical negligence. A doctor or medical care provider can misdiagnose an underlying cause of an acute injury and still be acting within the scope of the standard of care.

Here is the thing – medical error and medical negligence are not the same thing. In order to have a medical negligence claim, a person has to prove that medical negligence occurred.

Of course, they will need to get a personal injury lawyer on their side, such as the lawyers from the DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC and prove that the doctor did not do what they were supposed to do by detailing the damages that were caused by medical negligence.

Often, causation is a hang-up in cases of medical negligence. The underlying reason is that many times there are other possible explanations for what happened. In many cases, causation is used to confuse juries and produce good results for doctors.

In fact, one of the crucial things you should know before you see an attorney about medical negligence is that about 75% of the medical negligence cases that are tried by a jury are defense verdicts.

The reason why the cases are defense verdicts is that nobody wants to think that their doctor doesn’t follow the standard of care, which is why they don’t want to believe that someone else’s doctor could be doing something of this kind.

As a society – we hold doctors on a high pedestal – and while this is somewhat unfortunate for the person who has sustained personal injury and has been damaged resulting from medical negligence – this is, unfortunately, how the world works.

With that said, most medical malpractice firms won’t take a case unless they are absolutely sure that they can convince a group of jurors who don’t know the patient that the patient has been wronged and that the doctor is responsible.

What Are Medical Negligence Damages?

There are two types of damages – financial damage and non-economic damage. Financial damages are things that can be replaced with a checkbook. For instance, if you are the only person in your family who works and pays the bills and you are seriously injured – you can put an economic price tag on this until you recover.

In most states, the economic damages are not capped. On the other hand, non-economic damages are things like pain, suffering, physical disfigurement, disability, etc. All these different things are things you cannot put an economic price tag on.

In most states, there is a cap on the compensation for non-economic damages – and the cap is usually somewhere between 250 and 750 thousand dollars.

How to Win a Medical Negligence Case?

Typically, there are four things that you need to prove to win a medical negligence case. The first thing is the standard of care. Doctors are humans like everyone else – they cannot be perfect – but – they are expected to be reasonably competent and meet the standard expected of a reasonably competent doctor.

You will need to find an expert willing to testify about the standard and how your doctor deviated from the standard of care. Secondly, you will need to prove that the doctor breached the standard of care and that they did something that a reasonably competent doctor would not have done.

The third thing that you will have to prove is causation. Simply put – you will have to prove that the doctor’s breach actually caused your personal injury.

Finally, you will have to prove the subsequent damages that were caused by the medical malpractice. You will need to prove the harm and the injury that was caused by the breach and what it is worth. You will have to prove the nature of your personal injury claim and what kind of injuries you have sustained, and how the injuries prevent you from being able to earn a living.

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