Medical malpractice can be a confusing term – and if you’ve been injured by a doctor, nurse or anesthesiologist’s negligence (or by any other healthcare provider, for that matter), the last thing you want is to get mixed up on what you can and can’t do. Check out this medical malpractice FAQ to learn more about your options and what you should do if you’ve been hurt during medical care.
Medical Malpractice FAQ
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to live up to the standard that most other medical providers in similar situations would live up to, causing harm to a patient. These medical malpractice FAQ explain the answers to common questions people have – but if you don’t see the answer to your question here, please feel free to call us at 818-230-8380. We’re always here to help.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?
In order to prove medical malpractice, your attorney must show the court that:
- You had a doctor-patient relationship with your provider
- The doctor was negligent
- The doctor’s negligence is what caused your injury
- Your injury led to compensable damages (damages that you can put a price tag on so you can win an award in court)
These are sometimes called the four elements of medical malpractice. They’re things that your attorney has to show the court in order for the court before you can win a case. If any of these elements aren’t present, you most likely don’t have a case – and you wouldn’t be eligible to file a lawsuit.
Related: How to prove medical malpractice in California
What’s the Most Common Reason for Malpractice?
The leading cause of malpractice lawsuits is a physician’s failure to diagnose a patient’s medical condition. Failure to diagnose means that the physician missed signs that he or she should’ve seen as a healthcare professional. A failure to diagnose a condition, whether it’s an illness, an injury or a disease, can result in the patient not getting the care he or she needs in a timely manner. The consequences can be serious and even include death.
Related: What can I sue for?
Is Malpractice Hard to Prove?
Malpractice can be difficult to prove except in the most obvious cases. For example, a physician in Michigan – Dr. Farid Fata – was sentenced to 45 years in prison for healthcare fraud after giving chemotherapy to 553 patients who did not need it. In that case, when the doctor was clearly wrong and was financially gaining from sending patients through an unnecessary and dangerous treatment, medical malpractice is easy to prove.
To prove medical malpractice in your case, your attorney may rely on expert witnesses – other doctors, researchers and scientists, for example – to show the court that another doctor would have provided better care in similar circumstances.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to worry about how hard it is to prove medical malpractice. You should call a Los Angeles personal injury attorney, who will only take your case if it looks like you can win, and let your attorney worry about proving it.
Related: Guide to medical malpractice in California
What is the Most Common Surgical Error?
When it comes to surgical errors, the most common have to do with anesthesia. Anesthesia errors can involve administering the wrong dosage to a patient, delivering the wrong medication or failing to check on possible interactions with other medications.
Related: The most common medical mistakes in California
What Specialty Has the Highest Malpractice?
Statistically speaking, orthopedists (26 percent of all medical malpractice cases), general surgeons (23 percent) and OB-GYNs (18 percent) go through the most malpractice lawsuits.
How Long Does a Malpractice Lawsuit Take to Resolve?
There’s no way to predict how long your medical malpractice case will take to go through the legal system. Several factors can impact the length of a case. Typically, before you even file a lawsuit, your attorney will attempt to negotiate with the healthcare provider’s insurance company to get you a fair and reasonable settlement; you’ll only file a formal lawsuit and go to court if settlement negotiations fail.
You do have to pay attention to the personal injury statute of limitations, though – you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit. That means you must attempt to bring a case to negotiations before that time expires; if you wait too long, the insurance company will know that you don’t have a case and can’t take them to court, which means they’ll never try to reach a settlement with you.
Do You Need More Answers to Medical Malpractice FAQ?
This medical malpractice FAQ only answers a handful of questions about medical malpractice, so if you don’t see what you need here, please call us at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below for your free consultation. We can visit you in the hospital, at home or in our office to discuss your case – and remember, you only have a limited time to file, so the sooner you contact us, the better.