Medical malpractice is when poor medical care results in harm to the patient. If a medical practitioner such as a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional acts incompetently and subsequent injuries occur, there is a case of medical malpractice due to negligence. While state law regarding medical malpractice varies, a medical professional can be held liable if he or she either fails to provide care within a reasonable standard of care or acts with negligence. Outcomes of medical malpractice can include disability, disfigurement, physical injuries, emotional suffering, brain damage, and death.
Examples of medical malpractice include:
- Mistakes administering anesthesia,
- Diagnoses: failing to diagnose an illness, misdiagnosing, or a late diagnosis,
- Errors in preventing infections,
- Failing to properly remove medical devices after surgery,
- Failure to get informed consent before surgery,
- Birth injuries caused by negligence,
- Careless medical care resulting in brain injury.
A large amount of personal injury claims are cases of medical malpractice. This could be because of the large number of patients receiving medical care in the United States. With a large aging population (the “baby boom” generation), new medical advances, and more Americans able to access healthcare, medical professionals are serving large volumes of patients. If you or a loved one was injured in a medical situation, you may have a medical malpractice case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you better understand the claim process and damages for which you may be able to hold those at fault accountable.
A medical malpractice case falls under civil law. This is different from a criminal case and allows the plaintiff (the one bringing the complaint) more control over the legal process. In general, there are a few fundamental elements that must be established to have a successful medical malpractice case:
- Doctor-patient relationship: The medical professional against whom you are bringing a case must have been hired and agreed to be hired. In other words, if a doctor treated you, it is easy to show that this relationship existed,
- Negligence: medical personnel must have acted with negligence and this lead to harm or injury. This means that they acted carelessly in regards to a diagnosis or your treatment. This can include things such as incompetence by acting outside of their scope of practice or failing to meet certain standards of care. In a medical malpractice case, negligence is determined by whether the medical staff you are filing against acted with the same care that a competent medical professional would in the same situation.
- Injuries were caused by negligence: the plaintiff must prove that it is more likely than not that injury was caused by negligence and not from something else. This is called “preponderance of evidence” and is the responsibility of the plaintiff to prove.
- Certain damages were caused by the injury: damages can include physical pain, emotional suffering, medical costs, lost income and wages.
Contact Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC
The experienced Atlanta metro area attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC know that suffering injuries from a case of medical malpractice can be shocking and painful. They can provide the legal counsel and emotional support that is so critical to the healing process. Contact us today for a free consultation.