What Is Medical Malpractice and Do I Have a Case?

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Medical malpractice is a term that is often misunderstood and misconstrued. It’s actually a legal term that refers to a doctor or health care professional who causes injury to a patient. For a claim to be considered malpractice under the law, it must include certain elements.

The Four Characteristics of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Medical malpractice isn’t just an error by a healthcare provider. It’s a serious claim in which the provider was negligent or even malicious. A Memphis, TN medical malpractice lawyer like one from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC will tell you that the first part of a malpractice suit is that the healthcare provider owed you a professional duty. Typically, this would be the doctor-patient relationship, but it could also be a nurse, pharmacist or another healthcare provider.

Secondly, the healthcare provider must have breached that duty. In other words, the provider failed to provide a standard of care that other healthcare providers would have followed in the same type of situation. If you were in a malpractice lawsuit, you could demonstrate this by having an expert testify to the standard of care.

Third, you must show that you experienced physical or emotional injury from the breach of duty. If you don’t have an injury, you don’t have a case. You must show that you were injured directly due to the negligence of the provider. If you can’t link the injury to negligence, you may not have a case.  

Finally, you must show that the injury resulted in damages, typically monetary. These damages are usually additional medical bills, but some patients are compensated for lost wages. Most medical malpractice lawsuits don’t result in large payouts, but covering your expenses is the main reason you would file a malpractice lawsuit.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice takes many forms. A pharmacist who dispenses the wrong medication might be charged with malpractice, but it would depend on the circumstances. Here are some examples of medical malpractice:

  • Poor aftercare
  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose
  • Not taking a patient history or disregarding the history in treatment
  • Failure to order testing
  • Not recognizing symptoms

If you are injured at the hands of a medical professional, you may want to discuss your situation with a medical malpractice attorney to get an assessment of your claim based on the applicable laws in your state. It’s not always a direct line from an injury to a lawsuit. Once you understand the legal aspects to your case, you determine what steps to take. Make an appointment to get more information.