When a patient is injured or killed because of negligence on the part of the doctor or a related party, that person or a family member may take legal action. However, simply making a mistake does not mean that a medical professional acted in a manner that rises to the level of malpractice. How can it be proven that a patient suffered because of substandard care?
The Components of Negligence
Proving negligence means that there was a duty of care owed to the patient. This is generally established by the presence of the doctor/patient relationship. Next, there must actually be an injury caused to a patient as well as a causal link between the lack of care from a doctor and the injury. Finally, it must be shown that the doctor or another medical professional acted in a way that didn’t meet the standard level of care based on his or her expertise and access to proper diagnostic tools.
Was Informed Consent Obtained Before Treatment Began?
A patient must be allowed to give what is known as informed consent. In other words, the patient must learn of all the risks and benefits of a given procedure or course of treatment. He or she must also be told of alternatives to a planned treatment or procedure. Failure to do so is evidence of negligence and possibly battery in some cases.
A Medical Malpractice Expert Witness May Be Necessary
It is rare that a medical professional would openly admit guilt in a Medical malpractice expert witness case. Even if he or she knows that a mistake was made, a guilty verdict could cost millions of dollars as well as garner negative publicity. Health care companies are also loathe to admit their mistakes in court as it provides leverage for a patient to obtain more money in a settlement. Therefore, it may be necessary to hire an expert witness who can look at the facts of a case and provide a thorough analysis explaining that negligence occurred. This may be enough to convince a doctor or health care provider to settle the case quickly out of court.
Multiple Parties May Be Liable
If a health care provider fails to authorize a surgery that could save a person’s life while the doctor fails to mention it to the patient, both could be liable in a case. Multiple parties may also be involved if a surgeon makes a mistake during surgery and others on the team try to cover it up.
Patients may be entitled to thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation if they have been the victim of negligence. If a patient dies, his or her family members may pursue a wrongful death suit to win compensation for medical bills incurred and other final expenses.