What to Know and When to Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Americans use more on healthcare than any other people on the planet. The good news is that we get a good return on our investment. The U.S. is home to some of the best hospitals in the world. Unfortunately, already experienced healthcare professionals make mistakes. Whether these errors rise to the level of negligence is open to argue.
In most situations, a healthcare worker must be directly responsible for injuries caused by negligent or substandard care to be held accountable. A typical example is the surgeon who leaves a sponge in his patient during an operation. Clearly, that doctor was negligent and is consequently open to a lawsuit. Of course, most medical malpractice situations aren’t nearly that clear-cut.
The Burden Of Proof
All medical malpractice lawsuits must satisfy four main elements. The plaintiff must prove that: first, there was a duty of care; second, the healthcare worker violated the accepted standard of care; third, the injury the plaintiff suffered was a compensable one; fourth and finally, the plaintiff must prove that the injury was caused by negligent or substandard treatment.
The first point is rarely contested, because as long as the healthcare provider is a licensed doctor or nurse, there is always a duty of care. The third criterion is also fairly easy to establish, since almost any injury meets that legal standard. But the second and forth points are far more complicated and open to individual interpretation. These are the elements that an experienced medical malpractice attorney will use most of his or her time trying to prove.
What Is An permissible Standard Of Care?
There are local and national standards that define these practices for both general and medical specialty groups. But what most people do not understand is that a doctor is free to choose any permissible form of treatment, already if it turns out bad. Let’s say, for example, that he or she recommends a cancer treatment that the patient does not respond well to it and ultimately dies. As tragic as that outcome is, it does not necessarily make the doctor negligent for not assigning another course of treatment. This is the discretion we provide our healthcare professionals, and as long as they to comply with permissible standards, a medical malpractice attorney may not be able to build a convincing case against them.
What Is Negligent Care?
Once again, we cite our earlier example of the surgeon leaving a sponge in his patient because it is the textbook definition of negligent care. But in most situations, the former patient must prove that their injuries were caused by substandard treatment, which generally isn’t easy. Why? Because already if your medical malpractice attorney argues persuasively, the defendant can always say that your injuries were caused by external factors. For example, a patient that broke his leg badly and then breaks it again after his doctor gave him the green light to return to playing sports can hire a medical malpractice attorney. But truly proving that the injury was the consequence of negligence can be quite challenging. Perhaps the plaintiff simply had an accident or he engages in dangerous, aggressive sporting activities.
When To Call?
With that said, if you believe that your injuries were caused by substandard or negligent care, do not hesitate to contact an attorney today. Most experienced personal injury lawyers will review your case for free and let you know if you have a legal leg to stand on.