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Should You Sue Over a Doctor's Error
When a doctor or other medical professional makes a medical error, you may have a valid reason to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you believe you have suffered injury due to doctor error, you may want to contact a medical negligence lawyer to help you better understand the legitimacy of your case.
However, just because a medical professional commits an error during the treatment process does not automatically mean that he or she is guilty of medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Basics
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, such as a doctor or hospital staff member, commits a negligent act that in turn causes you injury. Although this may sound fairly straightforward, there are some important things you must be able to prove in order to establish a medical malpractice case.
First, you must show that the health care provider acted negligently. Medical negligence occurs when a professional violates the standard of care. The standard of care is the professionally accepted method for treating a specific disorder. This standard varies depending on a number of factors including the patient's age, overall health, and specific disorder, as well as geographic location.
Next, you must show proof of injury and, more specifically, that the medical professional's negligence is what caused this injury. This is called causation, and it can be difficult to prove, often requiring the assistance of expensive expert witnesses.
Learn more about some of the basics of medical malpractice.
When Is Doctor Error Malpractice?
There are a number of causes of action that could constitute malpractice. These include:
- A hospital losing your medical records
- Doctor error, such as misdiagnosis
- Poorly administering treatment
- Administering the wrong treatment
- Poorly training hospital staff
Unfortunately, just because one of these things occurs does not mean you have a claim. Medicine is not an exact science, and the law does not obligate doctors to be error-free 100 percent of the time. If doctor error occurs but there is no breach of a standard of care, you may not have a strong claim. If however, doctor error occurs and there is a breach of a standard of care, then malpractice may have occurred.
What to Do if You Are a Victim of Malpractice
If you believe you have been injured due to doctor error that occurred as a result of a breach of a standard of care, then you should contact a medical negligence attorney. When meeting with your attorney, it is important to bring along any information you think will help the lawyer make a determination of whether negligence actually occurred.
Documents you should consider bringing to help the lawyer assess your case include:
- Photographs of your injuries
- Personal notes regarding your injuries and the progression of your condition
- Letters sent to you from the hospital or health care provider
- Letters sent to you from your insurance carrier
- Letters you sent to your health care provider and insurance carrier
- Medical receipts
There is a statute of limitations (or time limit in which you can file a lawsuit) for medical malpractice cases. This limit varies from state to state, but in general it is about two years from when the injury occurred. To ensure you file a claim before the statute of limitations is up, you should reach out to a medical malpractice attorney as soon after you realize doctor error occurred.