Doctors and medical practitioners are people who are trusted every day with the lives of many people. When these medical professionals deviate from the standard medical practice, the patient is known to be a victim of medical negligence. Every year thousands of lawsuits are filed against this practice.
Negligence is a legal term used when the judge is trying to assess which party is at fault. There are certain standard procedures and norms that all doctors and other medical professionals have to follow in order to be in line with the medical field. Alleged negligence occurs when a professional from the medical field, be it a doctor, nurse, dentist, and so on, deviates from the standard practice that they normally should have followed.
When the treatment provided is below the standards that normally is provided by medical experts in similar cases, then the doctor has failed to perform his or her duty. This is called to be negligent.
Difference Between Negligence and Injury
Before you decide to file a lawsuit against the medical professional, you must understand the difference between medical negligence and injury. Both are not the same. If the doctor deviates from the standard procedure while treating a patient but there is no harm done and the health of the patient is intact, it doesn’t count as a case of medical negligence.
However, if the negligent treatment does harm or injure the patient then the case of medical negligence can be formed. These include situations where the patient’s conditions get worse after the treatment or they need more treatment all because the standard procedures were not followed in the first place. Both the legal causation and damages together are variables that are mandatory to occur for you to file a case against the doctor. If there is no detrimental effect on the patient, the case will not be in your favor.
The Required Elements For Your Medical Claim
To be able to claim your legal rights in a medical claim lawsuit, you will have to show proof of the below-mentioned things.
Doctor-Patient Relationship Record
You must show the record of the relationship between you and your doctor if you plan to sue them for negligence. This means showing records of having hired them and paid them to treat you.
For example, if you took the advice of the doctor while you were in a casual atmosphere at a restaurant or home, then you cannot claim any legal rights. It is only when you went to a certain doctor, booked an appointment, and do actually have proof of bills, prescriptions, and other documents that you can prove that the relationship actually existed formally and can be considered legal.
If you are just unhappy with the results of the treatment, it does not necessarily mean that the doctor was negligent. You are eligible for a malpractice lawsuit against your doctor only if he has indeed not overlooked the diagnosis or treatment from the standard way.
You must be able to prove that the doctor’s method has harmed you. The standard procedure will be measured against the treatment the doctor gave you. Other experts will then decide if the doctor has given the wrong treatment as compared to what should rightfully be done in cases similar to yours.
Proof Of Injury
Most patients that go to the doctor are already sick or injured. In such cases, what should be questioned is whether the treatment by the doctor actually did cause more harm and injury to the patient. For example, if a cancer patient dies during the treatment, then it is hard to prove that the doctor was negligent and that was the cause of the death. The basic idea is to prove that the treatment given was less likely to save the patient’s life.
Proof Of Specific Damage
As discussed before, you cannot prove that the doctor was negligent if there is no injury or harm after the treatment. There has to be proof of the specific damage that was done due to the treatment provided to you. These include an increase in physical pain, mental anguish, obscenely high medical bills, or complete loss of a body part function that can cause disability for life.
Things To Keep In Mind For Claiming Legal Rights
If you have been a victim of medical negligence, below are some steps you should take to claim your legal rights.
Do Not Wait
This is quite often the most common mistake victims of medical negligence make. There are statutory time limits that bind you to claim your rights. These can be as short as a month to one year, within which you have to file a lawsuit. Do not wait for too long. The process itself can be a little time-consuming so the sooner you start, the more likely you will have a chance to win.
Hire An Attorney
With the strain of the physical or mental condition you are in, you will not be able to handle the case by yourself. These cases are usually very complex. A medical attorney will have a firm understanding of the laws and guide you through the procedures easily.
Keep Your Medical Records Ready
Upon request, the hospital is legally bound to give you a complete record of your visit, diagnosis, and treatment that was done. Collect all of the needed documents. Also, try to get the medical viewpoints of other experts in the same field to compare what actually went wrong and what the common procedure should have been. Get the damage report from the other doctors to support that the injury or harm done to you is actually a result of negligence.
If you have been wronged, the law and its protectors will always find a way to help you. Though this could be stressful for you, eventually the compensation you will receive will help support your loss. So be calm and do not get too stressed during the procedure.