How do you know if you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice? And how do you know if it’s time to find a personal injury lawyer and launch a lawsuit?
The answer isn’t as simple as it might initially appear. After all, people who go to the doctor are already sick or injured.
How do you demonstrate that your failure to get the results you expected prove that the doctor was negligent or incompetent?
In general, medical malpractice can be defined as occurring when a doctor or other practitioner harms his patient through incompetence or negligence. Although what constitutes medical malpractice is different in each state, there are according to nolo some overarching factors which apply to the majority of medical malpractice cases.
A quick disclaimer: this list is not exhaustive, and your best bet is to consult with a competent medical malpractice lawyer. That said, if you want to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to prove that the following three things are true:
1. A Doctor-patient relationship existed
You can only sue a doctor or other medical professional if you can prove that in fact you hired him as your doctor, and that he in turn agreed to be hired. You couldn’t, for example, sue a doctor whose advice you took after seeing him on Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz. Generally, demonstrating that such a relationship existed is not especially difficult—if the doctor saw and treated you, courts will typically agree that he was your doctor.
2. The doctor was negligent
It’s not enough for you to be dissatisfied with the treatment you received. You have to show negligence, which means that your doctor would have had to hurt you in a way a competent doctor would not have. The phrase most typically invoked in medical malpractice cases is “reasonably skillful and careful.” Demonstrating that a doctor has not been reasonably skillful and careful is critical to most cases and usually requires a medical expert who will testify that he was not.
3. The doctor’s negligence was the cause of injury or death
Let’s say a patient being treated for prostate cancer dies. Even if the doctor was negligent in his treatment, how do you prove it was the doctor and not the cancer which is responsible for the death? The burden of proof in such cases is one of “more likely than not.” In other words, the plaintiff must prove that the doctor’s negligence or incompetence is more likely than not the cause of death or injury. Again, you will generally need a medical expert to testify that this is the case.
Medical malpractice cases are often complex and confusing. A competent medical malpractice lawyer will help you sort out the facts, prepare the best case possible and get the damages you deserve. To get the help and the answers you need, contact us today.