Understanding Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Claims
Medical malpractice is probably the most complicated type of personal injury case. There are several reasons medical malpractice cases are challenging to identify and win. Probably the biggest point of confusion when it comes to both personal injury and medical malpractice claims is the importance of negligence.
Most personal injury cases hinge on proving negligence. Other factors like guilt, the extent of your injuries, and the effects those injuries have on your life also play a significant role in your personal injury claim and the damages you receive.
Medical negligence is not the same as medical malpractice; proving medical negligence isn’t always enough to have a successful medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice requires intent, but medical negligence could just be an honest mistake.
Types of Medical Malpractice
There are several types of medical malpractice, including misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication mistakes, and birth injuries. These types of malpractice can lead to serious injuries and even death.
Misdiagnosis is a common type of medical malpractice that occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose or incorrectly diagnoses an illness or condition. This can lead to delayed treatment and a worsened prognosis, as well as potential harm from unnecessary treatments.
Surgical errors occur when there is an error during surgery, such as operating on the wrong body part or leaving surgical equipment inside the patient’s body. These types of errors can result in serious injuries and infections.
Medication mistakes occur when the wrong medication is prescribed, the wrong dosage is given, or when a patient has an allergic reaction to a prescribed drug. These errors can have severe consequences and may even result in death.
Birth injuries are another common type of medical malpractice. They occur when medical professionals fail to properly monitor and respond to complications during pregnancy or childbirth, resulting in harm to the mother or child.
How to Determine if You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. They will be able to review your case and determine if you have grounds for a claim.
To determine if you have a medical malpractice claim, there are several factors that your attorney will consider:
- Did the doctor or medical professional have a duty of care towards you?
- Did they breach that duty of care through negligence or intentional actions?
- Did their actions cause harm to you or your loved one?
- Did this harm result in damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering?
If you can prove that all of these factors were present in your case, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim. It’s important to note that the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff (the injured party) in a medical malpractice case, so having strong evidence is crucial.
When Do Doctors Ever Intentionally Cause Harm?
Intent in a medical negligence case doesn’t just encompass the most apparent intent. For example, you don’t find many doctors who knowingly prescribe the wrong medication to a patient because the patient was annoying during their appointment. (Although that would likely be an example of Medical Malpractice).
Instead, intent is frequently in failing to warn a patient, a doctor doing something they know could harm, or willfully covering up mistakes resulting in injuries.
For example, if a surgeon or a surgical nurse accidentally left a surgical sponge in a patient, it might only be considered medical negligence. It could become medical malpractice if the nurse tells the surgeon later that they think they only removed nine of the 10 sponges they used during the procedure. If the surgeon tells the nurse not to say anything because it could damage the hospital’s reputation or open them up to liability, a court might view that as intent.
Intent can get complicated because people can have intent in that context.
Consider a doctor who goes to work high or drunk. They may not go to work with the desire to hurt anyone, but they also know that inebriation can lead to dangerous errors. The knowledge that their actions could lead to an injury would likely make any mistakes they made in that state of medical malpractice.
Telling the Difference Between Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice
You’re not alone if you’re confused by what does and doesn’t constitute intent in a medical injury case. Medical malpractice cases are frequently complicated because of the number of variables involved. They can sometimes hinge on who knew what, when they knew it, and what actions they take afterward.
Did a hospital or doctor try to alter records to cover up a mistake? It may fall to the personal injury lawyer to prove it, which isn’t always simple or easy. These cases require significant resources and always need at least one expert witness who can attest to how a medical situation should have been handled.
Can I Sue for Medical Negligence?
It depends on the situation. Suppose you believe a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional made a mistake resulting in significant damage or pain and suffering. In that case, getting personal injury lawyers may be in your best interest.
There are four basic things a case must have to be considered medical negligence:
- You were in a doctor-patient relationship with the medical provider (they owed you a duty of care)
- Their actions breached their duty of care (they did something another reasonable doctor or nurse would not have done)
- Their breach of duty resulted in an injury or illness
- You suffered definable and specific damages as a result of your injury or illness
It’s necessary to get an expert opinion from a trained physician or a doctor in the same field to attest to what a reasonable medical professional in their position would have done in the scenario in which the injury occurred.
Suppose a breach of duty can be established. In that case, it’s then necessary to delineate the injury that happened as a result and the financial, physical, and psychological cost of that injury.
If all that happened when a doctor gave you the wrong prescription was you developed a temporary rash, it might be hard for you to win a medical negligence case. If the wrong prescription resulted in severe internal damage and you missed months of work and had to spend thousands of dollars on additional medical care; as a result, you probably would have a legitimate case.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
If you’re considering filing a medical malpractice claim, speaking with experienced personal injury attorneys is best. Personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources to resolve a medical malpractice case and fight for your deserved compensation.
An excellent personal injury lawyer can examine your medical records, interview any necessary witnesses or medical professionals, and work with expert witnesses to establish that a breach of duty occurred. They can also help you determine what kind of compensation is fair in your case, and they can fight for you when insurance companies or employers try to take advantage of the situation.
Having a personal injury lawyer on your side gives you a better chance of recovering fair compensation for medical malpractice-related injuries. It’s important to remember that filing a medical negligence claim is often complicated and time-consuming, so starting the process as soon as possible is best to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Do You Have a Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice Case in Atlanta?
It’s often difficult to determine when you have a case until you’ve spoken with a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer. The Dressie Law Firm is committed to fighting for people in Atlanta who have been injured due to the reckless or negligent actions of others.
Call us at 770-756-6333 to request a free, no-obligation consultation.