The classic medical malpractice case arises when a doctor makes a mistake during surgery, causing life-threatening complications or even death of the patient involved. However, medical malpractice encompasses far more than this. Let’s learn more about what medical malpractice is and the options for those who have suffered it.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
The term malpractice simply refers to any bad medical practice. Medical malpractice cases are those caused when a health professional deviates from approved standards of care, causing injury to the patient. This can range from a failure to do appropriate tests to making mistakes in the operating room. Medical malpractice is not when the doctor fails to meet the patient’s desired standards of care. There must be a clear harm to the patient to be able to pursue a case. However, medical malpractice can result from both action and inaction on the part of the doctor.
Is Medical Negligence the Same Thing as Medical Malpractice?
Medical negligence refers to a failure to do what one should do. Medical negligence becomes medical malpractice when it causes injury to the patient. For example, failing to turn over a patient and causing bed sores is when negligence becomes an injury. Failure to follow-up on symptoms that turn out to be serious and cause serious health problems is another.
What Are Your Options When You’re Dealing with Medical Malpractice?
You should document what has happened to date so that you can present the evidence to an attorney who specializes in handling medical malpractice cases. They can help you total up the injuries and associated costs, so that you can submit a claim for reimbursement. They can guide you through the process of getting second opinions and appropriate care that is paid for by the doctor who failed to do the right thing. You can get several opinions regarding the best corrective medical treatment and supportive devices. For example, you can fight for advanced treatment to save a leg instead of having it amputated after your diabetes went undiagnosed. It is easy to get compensation for bills racked up as you tried to get a proper diagnosis like extra tests and unpaid days away from work.
Pain and suffering is a special class of damages that can only be claimed in certain situations. It is typically easier to claim damages based on lost income, expected future medical costs and long-term care costs. You’re entitled to reimbursement for future expenses like modifying your home to accommodate a disability or assistance for a child left disabled by a birth injury.
When someone dies due to medical malpractice, you are entitled to burial expenses and compensation for their lost income. You can often sue for pain and suffering, as well.
Are There Any Limits to Medical Malpractice Cases?
We’ve already mentioned that medical malpractice cases are limited to cases where you can demonstrate clear harm. This includes physical, emotional and financial harm. However, time is your biggest enemy in such cases. You only have a few years to file a medical malpractice claim. There are very few cases where you can win long after the initial symptoms or event. For example, you may be able to sue for malpractice if the doctor ignored your symptoms for five years and only get diagnosed when the cancer has hit stage 4.