From doctors to nurses, surgical instruments to medications, diagnoses to treatments, healthcare is a chain of risks. If you feel that your healthcare has been compromised by a healthcare professional, you may have a medical malpractice case. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Medical Malpractice?

According to the US National Institutes of Health, medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider’s negligence causes injury. Since malpractice is both a medical issue and a legal issue, it requires that a patient offer proof of the following:

  • The medical provider owed a professional duty to the patient.
  • The provider breached that duty.
  • The breach caused injury to the patient.
  • The patient experienced financial or other losses due to the injury.

How Common Is Medical Malpractice?

An analysis of medical malpractice lawsuit payouts in 2014 showed:

  • Over $3.8 billion was paid out during the year.
  • The most common types of allegations in medical malpractice lawsuits were incorrect diagnoses (33%), followed by surgical negligence (24%).
  • An astonishing 30% of incidences of medical malpractice resulted in the patient’s death.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

When thinking about whether you have a medical malpractice case, consider the following questions:

  • Did your medical provider fail to meet a reasonable standard of care?
  • Did this negligence of good care directly result in an injury to you?
  • Can you document the financial cost of your injury, from medical bills to loss of wages?

If you answered “yes,” to any of the questions above, it’s time to contact a medical malpractice lawyer for advice on how to proceed.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Healthcare will always involve some risk; however, you can adopt good habits that can help to lower some of the risks and provide you with the necessary legal documentation if something negative happens.

  • Research your health conditions or diagnoses. Being informed makes you a partner in your own health care and helps you make better decisions.
  • Keep written details of your appointments, test results, and a diary of your symptoms. Write down questions you have and print them out for your doctor to answer.
  • Get a second opinion: Life-threatening diagnoses require precision care and timing. Never be afraid of working with your health insurance provider to get a second opinion.