Understanding Medical Malpractice: When and Why You Might Need a Lawyer

Medical malpractice is a serious issue that affects thousands of individuals every year. Once medical professionals fail to provide the standard of care, their patients can suffer the consequences. 

If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to be familiar with the basics of this legal area. You may find it beneficial to seek advice from a medical malpractice lawyer at Ikerd Law Firm.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to negligence or misconduct by healthcare providers that causes harm or injury to a patient. Example includes:

  • misdiagnosis
  • surgical errors
  • medication errors
  • birth injuries
  • anesthesia errors
  • and failure to obtain informed consent. 

To prove a medical case, specific elements must be presented, including the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, a breach of the standard of care, causation, and resulting damages.

Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

Surgical errors

These errors are simply mistakes that have occurred during surgery such as damaging surrounding organs or tissues, leaving surgical instruments inside the patient, or cutting the wrong body part. These surgical errors can affect the patient’s quality of life in the long term.

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis

In common terms known as wrong diagnosis. There are circumstances when healthcare professionals give wrong diagnoses and result in delayed treatment or, worse, wrong treatment. This can lead to serious consequences.

Medication errors

Wrong medication, administering the wrong dosage, or failing to monitor a patient’s medication properly are just a few of the common medical errors. These errors lead to adverse reactions, complications, or even death.

Birth injuries

Negligence during birth can lead to injuries which then result in physical disabilities, developmental delays, or other long-term health issues for the child.

Anesthesia errors

When administering anesthesia, accuracy and monitoring are needed as failure can result in complications such as brain damage, organ failure, or even death.

Failure to obtain informed consent

It is a protocol for medical procedures to inform patients about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the medication or procedure they will be undergoing. Failure to do so can be considered medical malpractice.

Identifying Medical Malpractice

Recognizing signs of medical negligence: To be able to file a valid medical malpractice case, you must provide proof of negligence. 

Signs such as incorrect treatment, disregard for medical protocols, ignoring patient’s medical history, and more. If you think you have experienced one of these, then it may be worthwhile to consult a lawyer.

Understanding the standard of care: In each medical specialty, there is a standard of care.  If this level of care is not provided to the patient and an injury is caused, the patient may have the right to file a complaint for medical malpractice.

Gathering evidence to support your claim: Evidence plays an important role in getting claims, therefore to establish a medical malpractice case, one must provide proof.

Medical records, expert opinions, witness testimonies, and any other relevant documentation are good evidence. Getting a lawyer to organize your evidence is a good move. 

When to Consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Factors to Consider Before Pursuing a Lawsuit

  • Severity of harm suffered
  • Potential financial impact
  • Availability of evidence to support your claim

Ask for assistance from a lawyer to verify the evidence and improve the chances of success in your claims.

Statute of Limitations/Prescription and Deadlines

  • Be aware of the statute of limitations (or “prescription” in Louisiana) and other deadlines associated with filing a medical malpractice claim.
  • These vary by state and can be complex.
  • Most states, including Louisiana, have a “pre-lawsuit” process called the Medical Review Panel, which requires a three-doctor panel to review the facts of the case and issue a report. A lawsuit can only be filed after this process is completed.

A medical malpractice lawyer can help you meet all necessary deadlines and avoid potential pitfalls.

Evaluating the Strength of Your Case

  • Consider available evidence
  • Assess the reliability of potential witnesses
  • Evaluate the potential compensation

Hire a professional to make sure these elements won’t go to waste and will be presented properly.

The Role of a Medical Malpractice Attorney

A medical malpractice attorney will investigate the details of your situation, gather evidence, consult with medical experts, and build a strong legal strategy. They will also negotiate with insurance companies and fight for fair compensation on your behalf. Medical malpractice litigation is a specialized field of law, and not all attorneys are trained or competent to pursue such claims. 

Compensation in Medical Malpractice Cases

This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future medical care costs. However, States like Texas and Louisiana place “caps” on some of these damages, including lost wags, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc. In Louisiana, the cap is $500,000 and in Texas the cap is $250,000. Caps in Louisiana do not apply to past or future medical costs. 

A medical malpractice lawyer may work to make sure that your documents and elements are well-aligned and help you seek compensation that is rightfully enough to cover all the inconveniences the medical malpractice has caused you. 

If you suspect that you have fallen victim to medical negligence, it is important to understand the concept of medical malpractice and be aware of when it’s necessary to seek assistance from a lawyer.

Chandra Shekar

I'm a tech enthusiast who loves exploring the world of digital marketing and blogging. Sharing my thoughts to help others make the most out of their online presence. Come join me on this journey to discover the latest trends in technology and digital media.

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