How to File For a Medical Malpractice Claim

When you visit a hospital, you usually expect to meet a well-trained medical profession with many years’ experience. With such qualifications, you are assured of excellent treatment. However, doctors are only human, and they may make errors at times. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical profession is negligent during treatment or diagnosis, and his actions cause harm to the patient. When this happens, a patient may decide to ask for compensation. In such a case, hiring medical malpractice experts is recommended.

Common types of medical malpractice

Various situations can lead to a patient filing a medical malpractice claim. They include:

Improper diagnosis

If a competent physician would have made a different diagnosis that would have resulted in a better outcome than the one that was achieved, the patient can launch a claim against the doctor who made the wrong diagnosis.

Wrong treatment

If the physician prescribes wrong treatment procedures that lead to negative outcomes, then that patient can launch a claim. Also, if the doctor prescribes the appropriate medicine but administers it wrongly, the patient has a viable medical malpractice claim.

Giving wrong information or failing to provide vital information

Doctors are responsible for warning patients about any dangers associated with a certain medical procedure. This is the duty of informed consent. If the physician fails to inform a patient about the risks of a procedure, then the patient is affected by the treatment, the patient can file a medical malpractice claim.

Medical malpractice case procedure

Here are some basic steps to be followed during a medical malpractice case:

Contact the medical profession in question

First, talk to the medical profession and consider possible remedies. Some doctors are even willing to correct the problem free of charge.

Contact the associated medical licensing board

If communicating with a medical profession does not solve the problem, you can contact the board that administers medical licenses. Even if the board cannot make the doctor compensate you, they can discipline or issue a warning the medical profession. They can also offer guidance on the action you should take.

Find how much time is left for you to file a claim

Civil claims, including medical malpractice, have time limits of until when they can be filed. These limits are known as statutes of limitations, and require the affected to file a case within a specified time after the injury occurred. Check out your state laws to find out the exact time.

Get a medical assessment to prove that your case is viable

In most cases, you are supposed to file a certificate of merit. It shows that the injuries you suffered resulted from the negligence of the medical profession. To file the certificate of merit, you will have to contact another medical expert to review your medical records and ascertain that the first provider deviated from the required standards. It is the medical Medical malpractice experts who file the certificate of merit.

Consider an out of court settlement

Medical malpractice cases can be costly and timely. Therefore, if both parties can agree on a compensation arrangement, with the help of their lawyers, it is better than going to court.

Who Could Be Liable in a Medical Malpractice Case?

There are few things worse than knowing that you have been diagnosed with an illness that you never actually had or were the victim of a botched surgery. In addition to the physical and emotional pain, you could accrue thousands or even millions of dollars in medical bills. However, with the help of a medical malpractice expert witness, it may be possible to hold all parties who hurt you liable for their actions.

The Hospital Where the Mistake Happened Could Be Liable

If you were hurt during a surgery or received an incorrect diagnosis in a hospital setting, that hospital could be liable. In theory, it is responsible for overseeing its employees and everything that they do. However, plaintiffs must show that the doctor was actually an employee if they hope to hold the hospital liable for his or her error.

The Doctor May Be Considered Negligent

In the event that your doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis, it may be considered medical malpractice. This may be true if he or she was negligent or failed to live up to the standard of care that is owed to a patient. An expert witness may be able to verify whether or not a correct diagnosis could have been made based on his or her experience and tools available when making it.

A Surgeon Who Operates On You Could Be Liable

A surgeon who makes a mistake during a procedure could be sued for medical malpractice. This is true even if the mistake was made by a team member and not be the surgeon him or herself. Like a hospital overseeing its employees, the lead surgeon is responsible for everything that his or her assistants do while treating a patient.

The Person Who Makes a Mistake During Surgery Can Be a Defendant

Although the surgeon is responsible for his or her team members, it doesn’t absolve the person who actually made a surgical mistake from liability. That person may be held personally liable in a civil suit or named in a criminal suit depending on the details in the case.

Your Insurance Company May Be Responsible Too

If your insurance company wouldn’t pay for a procedure that you needed, it could be liable for negligence. For instance, if you couldn’t get a surgery that was medically necessary and your condition worsened, a jury may find that the insurer played a role in what happened.

There are many parties that need to work together to ensure a patient gets the care that he or she needs. If one or more parties doesn’t live up to their responsibilities, all of those parties may be ordered to pay damages determined either by a jury or through a negotiated settlement.

Ways to Prove Medical Malpractice Occurred

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.

Things You Should Know Before Considering A Medical Malpractice Case

If you want your medical malpractice suit to be taken seriously in a Canadian court, you will need to include the testimony of a medical malpractice expert witness. The facts that you present to the court will almost always be far too complex and involved for a non-medical expert to determine whether your attending physician really should be held liable for malpractice. Engaging a medical malpractice expert witness as a part of your legal strategy is the best way to prove to the court that your claims are fully legitimate.

Why You Need To Have A Malpractice Witness At Your Hearing

If you do not have a Medical malpractice expert witness at your hearing, the judge may simply dismiss the case or render an unfavorable decision based on lack of solid evidence. You’ll need to have an expert malpractice witness explain the facts of the case and render the details of the malpractice in easy to understand terms. The jury is not required to render their verdict on the basis of this opinion, but having an expert witness will certainly give you a needed extra layer of solid credibility.

What Kind Of Testimony Will An Expert Malpractice Witness Give?

A medical malpractice witness will give testimony at your trial regarding at least two very significant matters. These matters are:

  • The standard of care that you received from your attending physician.
  • Whether or not the malpractice that occurred definitely resulted in an injury.

Was The Standard Of Care You Received Insufficient?

Your medical malpractice witness will give their expert opinion to the court regarding what a competent, fully attentive physician should have done under the same circumstances. They will then give their objective opinion concerning whether the expected standard of care was lived up to. To bolster their opinion, they may make use of medical journals, medical board guidelines, and additional testimony from other doctors or medical experts.

Did The Actions Of Your Physician Lead To Malpractice?

The next step will be for your medical malpractice witness to give their testimony concerning whether or not they believe that the actions of your physician definitely led to your injury. It’s important to remember that any number of factors could have contributed to your injury, with medical malpractice being far from the only possible culprit.

This is where the professional opinion of your malpractice expert is crucial to the success of your case: The expert needs convince the judge and jury that the incompetence, oversight, or negligence of your doctor led directly to malpractice that caused your injuries. If the expert witness can convince the jury, your case is basically won.