Medical malpractice occurs when a diagnosis or treatment given by a healthcare professional injures their patient. The severity and type of injury considered in medical malpractice can vary greatly, but at its core malpractice occurs when a personal injury of any kind is suffered due to the negligence of the medical professional or professionals in charge of the patients care.
Medical professionals are held to a higher standard than the average, reasonable person. In most cases if there is an accident the person found to be at fault is the one who did not act in a reasonable way. With medical professionals the level of what is considered reasonable is much higher and it takes into account their area of practice, level of training, licensing standards and education level. For example, a trained surgeon would be held to higher standard of care than a medical assistant with just a few months of training.
Even if you are injured by a medical professional, you are not guaranteed to win a lawsuit. There are a few steps you must follow in order to file your complaint and take those liable to court. A lawyer specializing in personal injury law would be the best choice in pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The basic steps involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit are:
1. Filing: In order to start your complaint you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible parties. This complaint will typically need to be filed in the state where the malpractice took place. After filing your case and issuing a summons to the defendant, the court will contact the named defendant(s) and deliver the documents to them.
2. Prove Damages: This is the vital part of your malpractice lawsuit. You must be able to prove that you were injured in order to collect damages. Without proof of damages to you, there is no case. You can claim damages for present pain and suffering and immediate care resulting from the injury and you may also claim damages for future pain, suffering and treatment if applicable. You can even claim damages for psychological damages done to you and a lessening of your quality of life. In many cases the damages received for pain and suffering far outreach those for actual medical care.
3. Potential Settlement: Damages in medical malpractice suits can often reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most medical malpractice cases settle out of court. In some instance the court may actually encourage a settlement. Most of these settlements come from the defendant’s malpractice insurance company. Before signing and agreeing to any settlement consult your attorney. Most settlements will require you to sign an agreement stating that you can never reopen this claim. Your attorney is best suited to help you determine if the settlement offer is fair or not.
Navigating through a medical malpractice lawsuit can be very difficult and frustrating. Hiring an expert personal injury attorney will speed up the process and make your case go much smoother. An attorney that specializes in personal injury will be experienced in handling these types of cases and they will know the best techniques to help you get the largest possible settlement.