Basic Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim

If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you have rights. However, there are rules about when and how you can bring a lawsuit against a doctor or other medical professional. These rules vary from state to state. Below are some broad guidelines that apply to the majority of malpractice cases.

How To Prove Medical Malpractice

In order to prove medical malpractice, the following situations must exist:

There was a doctor-patient relationship. This means you hired the doctor to provide medical care and the doctor agreed to the arrangement.

The doctor was negligent in connection with your treatment. Simply being displeased with your treatment does not make the doctor liable for malpractice. The doctor must have caused you harm that a competent doctor would not have under similar circumstances. While you may expect the best possible care when hiring a doctor to treat you, “less-than-the-best” care is not necessarily medical malpractice. As long as the care is “reasonably skillful and careful,” the doctor is within his or her legal bounds. This can be difficult to prove. Most states require you to hire a medical expert to show the medical standard and how the doctor did not adhere to that standard.

The injury was caused by the doctor’s negligence. When we seek medical treatment, we are often already sick or injured. Therefore, there is the question of whether the doctor actually caused the sickness or injury. If a patient dies of ovarian cancer, it would be extremely difficult to determine whether the death was due to negligence or the disease. It must be “more likely than not” that the incompetence of the doctor caused the misdiagnosis, sickness, injury, or death. A medical expert is usually called in these situations as well.

The sickness or injury must have caused specific damages. Even if the doctor was obviously incompetent in his or her treatment, there can be no lawsuit if the patient was not harmed. Some common types of harm for which patients receive compensation are:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress or anguish
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages

If all the above requirements are met, a patient can bring a lawsuit against his or her doctor. However, there are additional rules that must be followed in all medical malpractice cases. For instance, malpractice cases have to be opened within a certain timeframe. Most states require that cases are brought no more than six months to two years after the negligent treatment occurred.

Jacobs Law, LLC – Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. When a doctor is negligent in the care that he or she provides, and that negligence causes harm, you have rights. At Jacobs Law, LLC, we will fight for the compensation and medical help you need. As a victim of medical malpractice, you may have additional medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact us today for a free consultation.