Get help finding the Right Malpractice Lawyer for your case
Medical malpractice is committed by a negligent professional health care provider such as a doctor, nurse, technician, dentist, hospital or hospital worker. It is considered medical malpractice when the treatment of a patient is a deviation from the accepted standard of care and results in harm. It is important to remember that there are no guarantees of medical results, which means that unsuccessful results do not necessarily mean negligence or medical malpractice occurred.
There are a number of ways medical malpractice can occur. The most common way is when medical practitioners negligently dismiss symptoms as being temporary or minor. Other ways of medical malpractice are misdiagnosis, failure to provide treatment choices, refusal to evaluate symptoms, or errors in treatment or prescriptions. A successful medical malpractice case requires that the plaintiff shows injuries or damages that resulted when the medical practitioner did not provide the expected standard of care.
Medical malpractice is the most common type of malpractice lawsuit. It typically involves the negligence of a physician while diagnosing or treating a patient. In the past, courts decided whether a physician's conduct was negligent by comparing that conduct with the practices in the locality where the doctor worked or with the practices of his or her field of medicine. These comparisons made it difficult for injured patients to win malpractice lawsuits. Other doctors who could describe the practices in the locality were often reluctant to testify against their colleagues. More recently, courts have applied a national standard for professional conduct when determining whether malpractice occurred.
A small proportion of medical malpractice cases result from the intentional misconduct of the physician, such as improperly touching a patient who is unconscious. However, plaintiffs who are harmed in such a manner typically charge that the physician committed battery, an intentional tort, rather than alleging malpractice. A physician may also commit malpractice by doing something without obtaining the patient's informed consent. For example, a doctor may commit malpractice by giving a patient an experimental drug without first informing the patient about potential risks or side effects, and then obtaining the patient's consent to use the drug.
Most physicians purchase insurance to protect themselves from the high cost of malpractice lawsuits. In the mid-1970s and again in the mid-1980s, insurance companies sharply increased the cost of medical malpractice insurance. Many reasons for the rising costs were suggested. Some people blamed the insurance industry, claiming that insurance companies charged excessive amounts. Others claimed that lawyers were to blame because they brought far too many medical malpractice actions, including many that had no merit. Still others charged that the rise in litigation was the result of increasingly complex and specialized medical practices associated with the development of new medical procedures, equipment, and medications.
In response to the rapid rise in insurance costs (and the resulting increase in the cost of health care), many states passed legislation designed to reform tort law. These reforms provided various restrictions on medical malpractice suits, including limitations on the amount of damages that could be awarded or the fees that an attorney could receive. Some states adopted procedural restrictions, such as shortening the time period in which a plaintiff is permitted to file a claim or requiring plaintiffs to submit their claims to screening panels that review the claims and attempt to resolve disputes prior to litigation.
These reform statutes have generated controversy. A number of state supreme courts have found various measures to be in violation of state constitutional protections. For example, courts have invalidated laws that seriously limit the rights of plaintiffs to file suit or that severely limit damage awards. As the rise in medical insurance costs tapered off at the end of the 1980s, the pressure to reduce malpractice actions also diminished.
Anyone injured by medical malpractice goes through pain and suffering. However the medical malpractice occurred individuals have the right to take legal action against the responsible person, company or entity, including private citizens, government agencies, manufacturers, insurance companies, and corporations. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will help you evaluate your case in order to make sure your rights are being protected. A lawyer helps collect records, research the law, confer with experts and plan a strategy to strengthen your position.
If you are a victim of medical malpractice, call Attorney Search Network today. Attorney Search Network will help find you a medical malpractice lawyer who can help you with your medical malpractice claim.
If you have any questions about the information provided above, please contact us. Call us toll free at (800) 215-1190 or fill out our online form for your malpractice lawyer referral.