Do You Have a Case For Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to any negligence that a physician, health care professional, or hospital demonstrates during the course of providing treatment to a patient, and, in turn, causes either emotional or physical damage. State licensed individuals and entities-physicians, dentists, nurses, therapists, technicians, pharmacists, hospitals, clinics, etc-are accountable for injury they cause.
The primary legal determination of medical malpractice is negligence. Without negligence, one does not have a case.
Outcomes of carelessly done medical procedures can be or seem to be terrible. A disappointing facelift might lead to psychological distress. A failed organ transplant can not likely be fatal. But, sometimes t the most tragic and painful scenarios do not automatically qualify as medical malpractice.
Neither medicine, in general, nor any medical professional, specifically, is prefect. The profession, in fact, describes itself as a “practice.” Consequently, no patient can be assured of ideal or even desirable results. Therefore, medical malpractice boils down to negligence-neglect or carelessness-in attending to a patient. Bad outcomes can result from proper care.
How, then, is negligence determined?
First, the health care provider or professional is judged in comparison to his or her peers-health caregivers and providers in the same community, field and/or specialty. A heart surgeon’s treatment, for instance, would be evaluated in light of the treatment plan, procedures, and attentiveness that one should anticipate from similarly qualified and trained heart surgeons. Likewise, a hospital, an outpatient clinic, or other medical facility owes its patients a duty of ordinary care.
In other words, a hospital must extend the kind and quality of equipment, facilities, and trained personnel that are reasonably expected and suited to a patient’s condition if those factors are in place and in general use in comparable hospitals for patients who suffer similar conditions. Therefore, while a small county hospital’s emergency room would not be held to meet the certifications of a major trauma center in a large city, the more modest facility would be required to possess and utilize technology and procedures that other hospitals in its class offer.
The second criterion for determining medical negligence is whether or not a causal connection exists between the injury and the health care provider’s alleged negligence. The injured party must demonstrate that a breach (or violation) of the health professional’s standard of care was a proximate cause of any harm to the patient. If, for instance, a patient falls after hip replacement surgery on the way to the restroom because he did not want to call a nurse for assistance, he cannot blame the surgeon if the bone must be reset.
Damages comprise the third component of medical malpractice lawsuits. The injured party should outline any damages that resulted form the alleged mistake. Tangible costs-such as medical bills and lost wages-as well as intangible consequences-such as pain and suffering-are part of the accounting. To validate your claim, make certain that you acquire all of your medical records as quickly as possible to minimize opportunities for changes and falsifications. Additionally, your experiences should be set out in writing and to have a claim you must obtain an opinion by a medical professional setting out the negligence.
How much money can be awarded in damages?
There are no guarantees or simple answers. Avoid any legal representative who makes grandiose promises about how much he or she will get for you from the physician’s insurance company. The severity of your injury and your health in general will strongly impact how much, if any amount, a jury renders in a verdict or the amount you would receive in a settlement. Be aware that in 2005 Georgia enacted laws that limit verdicts in medical malpractice cases and impose other harsh standards that make it more difficult to prosecute these cases. In March 2010 the Georgia Supreme Court rendered two opinions on these laws.…