Medical malpractice is a real thing. It occurs all over the country every single day. You may know a loved one who has experienced it, perhaps even a friend or even yourself. It is a medical patient’s worst nightmare. Medical malpractice can happen in a number of ways: from a baby being severely injured during childbirth to a doctor misdiagnosing a patient having cancer before it was too late.
In order to prove that medical malpractice did indeed occur, there are several basic requirements that your situation must meet. I’d like to share with you four of them before taking the next step.
A doctor-patient relationship must be proven or else you can forget about even moving forward with a medical malpractice case. If you got some casual advice from a friend of a friend, that isn’t going to fly. Neither is a referral from one doctor to the doctor in question. These individuals cannot be held liable for malpractice. In order to prove there is a doctor-patient relationship, you must provide solid evidence that will help you in the long run. Evidence that proves you hired the doctor and they agreed to be hired.
You will need to do your homework on this one and for good reason. You’ll want to bring in medical experts that will provide testimony demonstrating that the doctor made medical decisions and administered treatments that were below the accepted medical standard of care. You must be able to show that the doctor caused you to harm in a way that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t include situations where you were unhappy with treatment or results.
You have to prove that an existing injury, sickness, or something completely unrelated did not cause the injury you are referring to. Because many malpractice cases involve patients that were already sick or injured, there is often a question of whether what the doctor did, negligent or not, actually caused the harm. You must show that it is “more likely than not” that the doctor’s incompetence directly caused the injury.
Even if it is clear that the doctor performed below the expected standards in his or her field, the patient can’t sue for malpractice if the patient didn’t suffer any harm. Here are examples of the types of harm patients can sue for:
- physical pain
- mental anguish
- additional medical bills, and
- lost work and lost earning capacity.
If you didn’t actually suffer from any harm, there isn’t a case for medical malpractice. However, patients do have the ability to sue for damages like mental distress, physical pain, medical expenses, and lost wages from being unable to work.
With these 4 things, you should have a reasonable idea as to whether or not you may have a case. Next comes the step to report your medical malpractice incident to the appropriate authorities. To help you make moves in the right direction, consider hiring a medical malpractice attorney Pittsburgh.