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.