Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional does not act according to the standard of care required by law. This legal standard of care requires your doctor to act the way other doctors in the same practice area (obstetrics, podiatry, neurology, cardiology, etc.) would act.

Your lawyer will know the exact rule, so if you have been injured by a doctor or other medical professional you may be entitled to compensation.

What kinds of injuries might qualify as medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice injuries are fairly common-sense. Anything that obviously should not have been done, or was obviously done incorrectly, can qualify as malpractice. Here are some examples:

  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Leaving objects (surgical tools, etc.) inside a patient after surgery
  • Administering the wrong drugs
  • Paralysis because of a severed nerve during surgery
  • Excessive radiation exposure during an x-ray
  • Excessive radiation exposure due to miscalibration of machinery
  • Improper delivery during childbirth
  • Mishandling or dropping of a patient during surgery or ambulance transportation
  • Failure to diagnose a condition (cancer, tumor, injury, etc.)

Medical malpractice does not always involve a botched surgery or other medical procedure. Malpractice can also happen if a doctor fails or refuses to act the way other doctors normally would. Examples of this kind of malpractice are:

  • Denial of treatment because the patient doesn’t have insurance
  • Failure to order tests that would have led to discovery of a condition
  • Failure to fully inform the patient of the risks of a procedure before surgery
  • Failure to fully inform the patient of the possible side effects of medication
  • Failure to monitor a condition
  • Failure to hospitalize a suicidal patient
  • Inappropriate sexual contact with a patient
  • Misrepresenting credentials or practicing medicine without a license

What am I entitled to if I have been the victim of medical malpractice?

If you have a good case for medical malpractice, you may be entitled to damages, or compensation, for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Lost future income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (for spouses or domestic partners only)

If your family member has died because of medical malpractice, you may have a wrongful death, claim.

Why do I need a lawyer?

The law requires you, the injured party, to meet the burden of proof for your medical malpractice claim. This means you will have to produce evidence that your doctor was negligent, or breached their legal duty to you by providing sub-standard care. You will also have to bring your malpractice claim within the statute of limitations, which is the specific time limit allowed by law for your claim to be filed.

It is difficult to produce proper evidence, meet the burden of proof, and do so before your time expires, without the help of a lawyer. You are never obligated to file a malpractice claim, but it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after you have been injured so that you know what your rights and responsibilities are.