These cases can prove to be difficult to
receive compensation without a good lawyer.
Medical malpractice is one of the most serious types of personal injury, and it can take a great toll on an individual and his or her family. When a healthcare professional does not follow the accepted standards of care in the United States, it is often undetectable by the patient until complications occur. By this time, the damage has already been done, and it may be difficult to trace back to a specific moment or act. Even if the precise mechanism of damage is known, it can be nearly impossible to receive compensation without the help of a reliable and experienced attorney.
Definition of Malpractice
Malpractice is strictly defined by the U.S. legal system, and such cases follow special rules that do not apply to other types of personal injury cases. For an injury to be declared malpractice, the following four conditions must be met:
- The healthcare provider had a duty or obligation to provide medical services to the patient.
- The healthcare provider committed a breach of duty by providing services that were not consistent with acceptable standards of medical care.
- The negligent acts or the negligent failure to act according to acceptable standards caused an injury.
- The injury caused some degree of physical or emotional damage to the patient.
The specific definition of damage in medical malpractice cases varies in each state, but such damages usually result in a financial loss or a diminished quality of life. It is important to note that even though an injury may have occurred, it may not have caused any form of compensable damage.
Compensation for Damages
Patients subjected to malpractice are entitled to compensation for the damages caused by the injury. Compensation may include medical bills, lost wages, loss of the capacity to earn wages in the future and nonmaterial damages, such as pain and suffering.
Filing a Malpractice Suit
After consulting with an attorney, a patient’s case will either be accepted or rejected. Nearly all malpractice cases are accepted on a contingency basis, which means that the attorney does not get paid unless the case is settled or won in court. To win a disputed case, the burden of proof falls on the patient, and cases may take years to complete.
Although these complex cases may not be resolved quickly, it is important to file a case as soon as possible after the incident occurred. Each state has a statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases, and if patients hesitate to file, they may lose the right to compensation.