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Personal Injury

Considering a medical malpractice suit? Here’s what you need to know

By Patrick Brown and Joe Gaynor

Medical malpractice occurs through the negligence of a healthcare professional. These professionals include, but are not limited to, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, and nurses. These acts of negligence can have a significant impact on those individuals who received treatment, whether it is with your own treatment or the treatment of loved ones.

The medical and legal issues in a malpractice case are complex. To bring a successful lawsuit, you will need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer and convincing evidence to support your claim. The following guidelines will help establish if bringing an action against a healthcare professional or a healthcare facility is appropriate.

The required elements to establish medical malpractice:

1) The duty of care:

There must be proof that the healthcare professional or facility owed you a duty of care. This is usually done by showing the existence of a doctor-patient relationship.

2) The standard for healthcare professionals:

The standard of care to be met varies depending on the type of service received. The law does not require perfection of healthcare practitioners. The standard of care is whether they have failed to provide the care that a reasonably competent practitioner would have provided in similar circumstances. Therefore, if it is found that a healthcare practitioner has acted unreasonably in all of the circumstances by not following the customary practices in their profession, then they can be held responsible as a result of their negligence.

3) Causation:

One must prove more likely than not that the breach of the standard of care caused the resulting injury.

4) Injury or loss:

Being the victim of a medical mistake or error is not enough to guarantee a successful case. You must be able to prove that you have suffered an injury or a loss. If no harm has occurred, then you cannot prove medical malpractice.

If you can establish liability, then you may be entitled to compensation. However, in practice, the elements described above are very complicated and not easily proven. They are dependent on the opinion of medical professionals. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice then you should consult a personal injury lawyer to determine if your case has legal merit and should be pursued.

Selecting a personal injury lawyer:

Medical malpractice cases can be very difficult to understand without assistance. Choosing the right lawyer to assess your case, from both a legal and medical perspective, is imperative. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer should have experience working with healthcare providers and soliciting testimony from medical experts. This is important as expert opinions are often necessary in determining whether you have a meritorious case.

For more information on medical malpractice lawsuits, please refer to “Five reasons not to file a medical malpractice lawsuit,” authored by Joseph Cescon, partner at McLeish Orlando LLP.

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