The medical world is full of a lot of terms that can be quite complicated. It doesn’t help that people like to throw medical terms around without fully understanding them. Today we are going to take a look at what exactly is medical malpractice.
What is Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can vary slightly in definitions depending on where you look but the simplest definition is: the act of causing harm to a patient by neglect or omission after deviating from standard medical practice. This is a very simplified version though and the best two options to get the best definition are to read your local laws or to speak with an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice.
There are four key items that need to be met when determining if a medical action counts as medical malpractice. Understanding these four items will help to understand medical malpractice in general.
- The doctor owes a professional duty to the patient.
- They must breach that duty of care.
- Injury must be caused by that breach.
- Resulting damages.
Doctors are generally required to have medical malpractice insurance and thus bringing a medical malpractice case against the doctor usually will not harm their business too much. The insurance company will be who you or your attorney will be dealing with.
Should I Hire An Attorney?
It is possible to settle a malpractice case out of court and get a good deal. That being said, a lot of hospitals and medical systems guard their money well. In many cases, it is a good idea to consider getting an attorney when you think you have a malpractice case.
Most attorneys will give a free consultation for a medical malpractice case so there is no harm to talking with them. Just make sure that you find an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice in your area.
How Many Medical Malpractice Cases Are There?
In general there are up to 19,000 medical malpractice cases reported every year. Keep in mind that these are only cases that are reported. Not everyone feels comfortable or able to report a case. Some doctors may also try to settle under the table.
Common Types of Malpractice
If you are trying to decide whether something is medical malpractice it might help to understand what the common types of medical malpractice are. Here is a brief list:
- Failure to diagnose
- Unnecessary surgeries
- Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Injury incurred during surgery
- Leaving items inside the body during surgery
The items listed above are just the most common types of malpractice. You will find that there are a variety of other types of malpractice out there. Use the 4 criteria we mentioned above to help determine if your case is medical malpractice.
Another type of malpractice that is less common is one caused by the facility. Facility issues such as fires also have the potential to be medical malpractice as long as they meet the 4 criteria above.
Medical malpractice can be a very iffy world. It is important to read the law and consider the case from a neutral view to determine whether what you have at hand is a malpractice case. If you can, it is better to work with an attorney so that you can get the best settlement possible and you thoroughly understand the process.