Medical practitioners who offer medical care have a legal obligation to not cause foreseeable harm to the patient. However, if the foreseeable harm is caused, then the medical practitioner may be legally responsible as a result of negligence in medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury lawsuit that is filed against doctors, hospitals, EMTs, nurses or other medical caregivers. It is a special kind of professional malpractice that is applicable only when someone is injured while they were getting some form of medical care or treatment. The victim (patient) may be eligible to file a claim against the responsible party under special rules that apply to this kind of professional negligence.

Types of medical negligence

Medical negligence is when the medical caregiver offers care that is below the approved reasonable threshold. For example:

  • If they executed care in a way that resulted to you or your loved one having an immediate or later onset of harm, injury or even death
  • If they take a wrong action or misdiagnose
  • Insignificant delays or inaction by the caregiver where a reasonable medical practitioner would have offered care and due to that inaction or delay, injury or harm resulted
  • Inappropriate medication or wrong prescription leading to harm or injury
  • Errors occurring because of negligence in surgery or surgical procedures

Legal requirements

If you sustain injuries due to negligence on the part of a medical caregiver, you may hold them liable by proving these four components of a medical malpractice case:

  • The medical practitioner had a duty to you
  • The duty was breached
  • As a result of the breached duty, you sustained a type of harm that would otherwise not have happened
  • The harm resulted in the injury for which you may be paid

Proof of legal components

If any of these four components are missing, then you may not have a case to file. And like in other personal injury claims, the burden of proof lies on you, meaning, you have to prove that the other party was indeed responsible. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer, like Cohen, Placitella and Roth, is your best shot at showing that more likely than not, all four of the components above exist.

Duty of care

If you sustain harm or injury, it is not automatically assumed that the medical practitioner was negligent and therefore responsible for medical negligence. Rather, treatment, diagnosis, prognosis or process will be considered by other experts to establish whether it is in line with applicable medical standards. If it is, then the medical practitioner is highly likely to be found not liable. A breached duty of care is only ruled when the treatment, diagnosis or process was below the applicable healthcare standards.

Compensation

Medical negligence can result in mental or physical harm. If you sustain a severe injury that is permanent, you could be eligible to compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, permanent treatment costs, loss of income, permanent deprivation of the ability to earn income.