Despite training for years and studying medicine at expensive schools, a doctor may still make a mistake in their profession. Unlike a clerical error at a typical office job, however, a mistake from a doctor could have serious consequences for a patient. In some cases, these repercussions irrevocably change their life for the worse. Medical malpractice cases are thus very costly lawsuits to pursue, as the payouts can be quite substantial. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, the average value of a life insurance lawsuit is close to $350k.
You entered into a doctor/patient relationship
In order to qualify for a medical malpractice case, you must be a patient of the doctor. This is because if a doctor performed a procedure or gave you medical advice, it’s important that they did so acting as your physician. For example, if a dentist tells you that a root canal isn’t necessary after taking x-rays of your teeth, and you pay them for their services, that constitutes a medical relationship. Conversely, if your neighbor who’s a dentist suggests that there’s nothing to worry about, they aren’t speaking as your medical provider. Additionally, if after consulting with various insurance guides you determine that a recommended procedure is too expensive for you to pursue, that isn’t medical practice. In order to qualify as malpractice, you must have chosen to follow the doctor’s recommendations.
There was negligence
Once you’ve established a patient/doctor relationship, you must then prove that a healthcare provider was negligent in their actions. In some situations, this may involve failing to disclose certain risks and side effects of a procedure or medication. Negligence often involves a doctor acting in a way that others would find unreasonable or lacking the skill associated with their profession. Put another way, if a doctor acted abnormally in the way that they approached treating your condition, they were most likely negligent if their actions caused you harm. Some of the most common types of negligence include improper diagnosis, incorrect treatment, or the aforementioned failure to disclose interest risks.
There were damages
After you’ve established the above two facts, it’s imperative that you connect the doctor’s actions with a negative personal outcome. In some situations, the damages you sustain will be an additional injury or condition, like paralysis. In more serious cases, the damages may be death and you might be pressing charges on behalf of a loved one. Other damages outside of pain and suffering include medical bills and even lost work. All of these damages may combine to form a settlement that is quite substantial since any one of these elements could cost tens of thousands of dollars on its own.
Clearly, it can be very worthwhile to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. That being said, if you don’t meet the criteria set out above, it may not be worth your time. To better understand the intricacies of your situation, it’s best to speak with a qualified medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer in your area. Whether it’s a Nashville medical malpractice lawyer or an attorney in New York City, finding a local expert nearby is a good way to get a professional opinion. Best of all, many medical malpractice attorneys will offer you a consultation free of charge. In some cases, you won’t even need to pay them for their services even if they represent you. This is because they will take a percentage of your settlement rather than charge you a flat hourly fee. As a result, the best thing to do when you have a case you’re not sure about is to talk to a professional.