A medical malpractice attorney can help you determine if you have a viable case. Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor who fails to competently perform his or her medical duties. The rules about medical malpractice vary from state to state, but our medical malpractice attorney can help. There are some general principals and broad categories of rules that apply to most medical malpractice cases.
What Your Medical Malpractice Attorney Will Have To Prove
To prove that medical malpractice occurred, your medical malpractice attorney must be able to show all of these things:
A doctor-patient relationship existed. You must show that you had a physician-patient relationship with the doctor you are suing. For example, you can’t sue a doctor for personal injury, because you overheard him giving advice at a cocktail party. If a doctor began seeing you and treating you, it is easy to prove a physician-patient relationship existed. Questions of whether or not the relationship exists most frequently arise where a consulting physician did not treat you directly.
The doctor was negligent. Just because you are unhappy with your treatment or results does not mean the doctor is liable for medical malpractice or personal injury. The doctor must have been negligent in connection with your diagnosis or treatment. To sue for malpractice, your medical malpractice attorney must be able to show that the doctor caused you harm in a way that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have. Whether the doctor was reasonably skillful and careful is often at the heart of a medical malpractice claim. Almost all states require that the patient present a medical expert to discuss the appropriate medical standard of care and show how the defendant deviated from that standard.
The doctor’s negligence caused the injury. Because many malpractice cases involve patients that were already sick or injured, there is often a question of whether what the doctor did, negligent or not, actually caused the harm. For example, if a patient dies after treatment for lung cancer, and the doctor did do something negligent, it could be hard to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused the death rather than the cancer. The medical malpractice attorney must show that it is “more likely than not” that the doctor’s incompetence directly caused the injury. Usually, your medical malpractice attorney will have a medical expert testify that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury.
The injury led to specific damages. Even if it is clear that the doctor performed below the expected standards in his or her field, the patient can’t sue for malpractice if the patient didn’t suffer any harm. Here are examples of the types of harm patients can sue for:
- physical pain
- mental anguish
- additional medical bills, and
- lost work and lost earning capacity.
Clekis Cares about your health and wellness. If you think you have a medical malpractice claim, call our medical malpractice attorney at Clekis Law Firm to schedule a free consultation today.