Experiencing a life-altering injury or the death of a loved one is an extremely traumatic experience.
If the loss is caused by wrongful behavior or the negligence of another individual, the pain and suffering is intensified.
You're going to be stressed during this time no matter what, but if you have to determine whether or not you have a case of medical malpractice or wrongful death, your stress is going to be amplified.
Medical malpractice might not be something that people think of every day, but thousands of people die every year from unnoticed or undocumented medical negligence and malpractice.
Some people even estimate that medical malpractice and negligence kill more people annually than car accidents.
Some cases of medical malpractice are obvious.
A surgeon sews an instrument up inside of your body or amputates the wrong limb.
It seems crazy, but it has happened. We have to remember, or doctors and surgeons are human just like us.
However, most medical malpractice cases involve mistakes that aren't as obvious.
The mistakes can arise from surgeries, medication errors, bacterial infections, birth injuries, diagnosis errors, and negligence, among other things.
We also have to keep in mind that just because something has gone wrong, or a patient's health worsens, it doesn't mean you have a case of medical malpractice on your hands.
In the article below, we'll talk about a few situations where medical malpractice might have caused an injury or death, and when it probably wasn't an issue.
Table Of Contents
- When It Might Be Malpractice
- When It Probably Isn't Medical Malpractice
- In The Case Of A Wrongful Death
- Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney
When It Might Be Malpractice
Below are a few instances when you might have a case of medical malpractice.
Negligence occurs when a doctor provides substandard care to a patient.
It means they fail to provide the type and level of care that a prudent, local, similarly-skilled, and educated doctor would provide in similar circumstances.
To put it in even simpler terms, the doctor didn't do his job.
When negligence rises to the level of medical malpractice, it can be due to a number of reasons.
The doctor could have failed to diagnose a serious condition, they failed to advise a patient of the serious risks of specific treatments, or they could have performed unacceptable errors during surgery or other procedures.
Doctors aren't perfect. Again, they're humans that can make mistakes just like us.
Medical malpractice laws do not require perfection.
But if a doctor's error falls below the applicable medical standard of care, the mistake can rise to the level of malpractice.
Most medical malpractice cases turn on the following questions:
- What was the medical standard of care in the situation in question?
- Did the defendant adhere to or deviate from that standard?
Both sides of the case, the doctor, as well as the patient, will likely turn to medical experts to help bolster their case.
This is rarer than negligence, but sometimes a doctor's actions or in actions could be considered reckless.
Recklessness goes beyond the level of human error.
An excellent example of recklessness is performing a procedure under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Or, a doctor could be charged with administering potentially lethal levels of medication to a patient in contravention of accepted medical practices.
This is what happened in the 2011 criminal case of Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's doctor.
In some cases, recklessness can be viewed as extreme cases of negligence where the doctor's actions are so far below the accepted norm in their field that they placed their patients at serious risk of suffering or harm.
When It Probably Isn't Medical Malpractice
The doctor isn't always to blame if the patient doesn't get a favorable outcome.
The Patient's Condition Gets Worse
A doctor can't be held responsible for medical malpractice just because a patient's condition becomes worse during treatment.
Sometimes a doctor simply can't treat, let alone cure, certain illnesses, and even when conditions are considered treatable, there is no guarantee that patients will respond favorably to treatments.
As long as the doctor acted with reasonable care and skill in choosing and performing treatments, typically, no medical malpractice can be said to have occurred.
Not even when a patient's condition takes a turn for the worse.
The Condition Isn't Treatable
Unfortunately, not all illnesses and health issues can be treated.
A doctor who correctly diagnoses a health problem and makes sound decisions in deciding how to treat the patient, can't be held responsible for medical malpractice because the condition is terminal.
Medical malpractice laws aren't in place to offer a remedy for unfortunate healthcare outcomes like terminal illnesses and death.
Medical malpractice laws are in place to provide legal protection when the treatment a patient is given falls short of acceptable standards of medical care.
In The Case Of A Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is the death of an individual as a direct result of the negligence of another individual, company, or entity.
Wrongful death claims are usually based on the cause of death, who is strictly liable for the death, and who can claim the wrongful death.
Usually, wrongful death cases are brought by relatives, siblings, or descendants of the deceased's estate who have experienced a monetary loss as a result of the wrongful death.
Aside from medical malpractice, wrongful death claims can arise out of automobile accidents, dangerous or defective products, other forms of negligence, and more.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice is highly regulated by a complex body of rules, which vary considerably from state to state.
It's often essential to get advice or representation from a lawyer if you or someone you know may have suffered or is suffering from medical malpractice.
Due to the statute of limitation laws, time is of the essence, so contact an experienced attorney as soon as you can.
Be prepared to provide your lawyer with relevant information such as dates you were treated, where you were treated, who treated you, etc.
The more information you have ready for your lawyer, the faster he can get started building your case.
If you don't have a lawyer, you can contact the experienced attorneys at The Brown Firm.
They have years of experience and expertise in the medical malpractice field, and they are prepared to help you today.
Click the button below to get started.