Understanding Medical Malpractice
This may be a surprising fact, but according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Forbes magazine estimates that over $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice payouts in 2012, averaging one payout every 43 minutes. With a systematic issue this large, it is crucial that patients are aware of the nature of medical malpractice cases when seeking medical care. Namely, there are two essential topics to cover in this issue: how to identify potential medical malpractice from your healthcare providers and when to seek counsel on those matters.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider is negligent by failing to provide the patient with the standard of care for their particular treatment, thus causing harm to the patient. Standard of care is defined as the generally accepted method or methods used by other medical professionals in the area to treat or care for patients under the same or similar circumstances. In simplified terms, your healthcare provider needs to ensure that he/she is treating you in a way that resonates with other professionals within his practice area as the acceptable way to treat a patient with your particular condition. It is important to understand that a bad outcome in treatment does not necessarily mean medical negligence. If your healthcare provider has provided you with an adequate treatment that meets the standard of care, he may not be accused of malpractice. In order for a malpractice case to be pursued, you have to have clearly been harmed as a result of your provider’s negligence.
When attempting to identify whether medical malpractice has occurred, ask yourself if you’ve suffered harm due to your treatment. If you’ve suffered harm and believe it is due to medical negligence, seek another provider’s opinion. A 2nd opinion medical provider should be able to inform a patient that the person has received negligent medical care from a previous healthcare provider. Furthermore, your provider may also admit fault by offering you an apology for the harm you have suffered. At this point, it is in your best interests to seek an experienced medical malpractice attorney. They will be able to evaluate your case and educate you on the best course of action going forward.
Medical malpractice cases tend to be long and hard-fought battles due to their complex nature. They’re also costly due to their dependency on medical experts and their respective opinions on the particular case. Most experienced medical malpractice attorneys will not pursue a case unless the injuries and damages are significant and are well documented in the records. However, this should not discourage you from seeking a consultation, especially if you’re suffering due to someone else’s negligence.
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