What is medical negligence or malpractice? Well, it’s a general term to describe when a specialist that is medically trained, or any professional in the medical department not only fails to provide you with adequate service but instead causes you, the patient, harm or further injury. Different countries and states have very different laws and requirements about what is determined to be malpractice, but in this article, we will go through the generalizable standards and requirements that would be applicable when filing for more medical malpractice claims. This article will tell you What You Should Know Before Making A Medical Malpractice Claim.
Basic Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim
In order to show proof of a medical malpractice situation, these are the various details you should present.
A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed
Firstly, the evidence of an existing relationship with the medical practitioner you are making the claim against. There has to be proof and documentation that you engaged the services of the accused. It may sound rather self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised at how difficult it can be to prove a relationship with the accused, especially when in a situation where the physician was not formally the one treating you.
The Doctor Was Negligent
Your dissatisfaction towards the practitioner of the treatment, in general, does not guarantee that the treatment was a form of medical malpractice. In fact, you have to show that the practitioner was negligent when treating you, and caused damage to you. Ultimately, your standards of what is determined ‘satisfactory’ are subjective, and may not be upheld in the same way under universal standards.
The Doctor’s Negligence Caused the Injury
Because treatment is done for those that are already health compromised, it can be very difficult to determine if it was the doctor’s treatment that was negligent, or if it was simply the patient’s pre-existing condition that could have perpetuated the further damage. Hence, the claimant would have to find proof that it was not their own physical functioning that caused the additional damage. Hence, many patients usually source for external experts in the medical field to do the groundwork and provide evidence for their claim.
The Injury Led to Specific Damages
If the patient was not susceptible to any actual damage, even if the practitioner did not provide a satisfactory treatment performance, the claim will not go through. So, what forms of damage can the claimant make against the practitioner? Here are some examples:
- Physical damage
- Psychological distress
- Further incurred medical costs and
- Loss of income and ability to work
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
There can be many types of circumstances that can result in a claim for medical malpractice being made. Here, we have summed up a general list of different categories in which a claim can fall into:
Failure to Diagnose
The failure to give a proper diagnosis, which could have been easily done if made by a more professional and adequate practitioner, can be a form of the claim that could be made by a claimant.
The form of treatment being provided by the accused was absurdly different from the standard protocol and medical standards can also be used to make a claim against the practitioner. If the practitioner chooses the proper treatment for the patient but goes about it in an unacceptable way, that could also be used to file a claim.
Failure to Warn a Patient of Known Risks
If the doctor did not provide the patients with adequate information regarding any side effects or risks of the actual treatment, the patient can actually make a claim against them. This is because without providing the patient with full information, they are unable to make an informed choice.
Special Requirements in Medical Malpractice Cases
As mentioned earlier, many different countries and states have their own particular laws and regulations governing what would be deemed to be medical malpractice. Hence, do ensure you follow your own country’s requirements.
Medical Malpractice Cases Must Be Brought Soon After the Injury
Making a medical malpractice claim can actually be done rather quickly, spanning across from 6 months to around 2 years, but this is also dependent on the place you reside in. However, do ensure that you also file the claim within a certain period of time, also known as the statute of limitations. Doing so after would render your case to be no longer viable and applicable.
Special Medical Malpractice Review Panels
Various countries and their states will also have a review panel, in which the claimant would have to submit their claim to be reviewed and judged. The panel will look at the case and assess it, followed by a debate among the various members to determine whether the medical malpractice has actually occurred and can be presented. Although the decision made by the panel is not the same as the actual lawsuit and claim made in itself, it is part of the process that the claimant would have to clear in order to be able to move further on with their claim. Much of the research and evidence found by the panel would then also be used in court for judgement,
Special Notice Requirements
Depending on the country or state you are in, you may have to provide your doctor with a notice that you are going through with making this medical malpractice claim.
Expert Testimony is Required
Another especially important aspect when making your medical malpractice claim would be having an expert being present at the trial. The qualifications of the expert you are bringing to the trial also matter, and their qualifications and competence will also be assessed and questioned before they provide their testimonial. Hence, do bear this in mind.
Limits on Damage Awards
A few states may also restrict, or even provide a maximum amount of compensation you can receive from your claim, so it’s important to also check up the rules on that.
The entire process of making a medical malpractice claim can be very tedious, so it’s important to have a competent lawyer by your side when filing a case.