How Do I Know if I Can Make Medical Malpractice Claim?
All you may know for sure is that you expected a very different outcome from your medical treatment. Perhaps you trusted a doctor’s diagnosis only to find out later that it was incorrect. That you did, in fact have cancer, and your doctor’s misdiagnosis caused the cancer to spread much quicker than it would have otherwise, requiring drastic surgery. Perhaps you trusted a doctor’s recommendation to take a prescribed medication that sounded completely benign, only to have a life-threatening reaction to the medication, landing you in the hospital with internal organ damage. Perhaps you went into the hospital to have a baby, believing everything was fine, only to follow your doctor’s recommendation to have a C-section and suffer significant injury.
If you had an unexpected result from a medical procedure, consider calling a medical malpractice attorney in your area to discuss the facts of your case. A qualified medical malpractice attorney will be able to listen to your case, review your medical records, and make a recommendation about your ability to file a medical malpractice claim. In the meantime, however, here are a two questions that you can ask yourself:
- What went wrong during your treatment? Doctors are not required to be perfect. In fact, doctors have a lot of wiggle room regarding what is accepted as a reasonable medical standard of care. It is often extremely difficult to tell if a doctor’s actions constitute medical malpractice without the expert opinion of other doctors, analysis of medical literature, and consultation with a medical malpractice attorney. However, there are a few cases that are more black-and-white. For example, if the doctor treating a patient is under the influence of alcohol or drugs when he or she causes injury to the patient, he or she has violated the standard of care. In another example, if a surgical team leaves a foreign object in the patient, this clearly violates a standard of care and almost certainly constitutes malpractice.
- Were you hurt? This may seem like an easy question. Of course you were hurt, otherwise you would not be considering filing a medical malpractice claim. However, in court, you must not only prove that you were hurt, but you must prove that you sustained an injury above and beyond what you would have sustained had the treatment been performed to the standard of care. This can be tricky in some situations if you had a poor prognosis for the treatment in the first place, or if the injuries you allege are related to the doctor’s substandard treatment can be attributed to another cause such as a preexisting condition. Depending on the facts of your case, proving you were injured may be straightforward. In most cases, however, establishing your injuries and that they were caused by the doctor’s actions requires an expert medical opinion.
The best resource you have for figuring out whether you have a medical malpractice claim is a consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. A competent medical malpractice attorney will be able to fully discuss the facts of your case and enlist the help of an expert medical professional if necessary to assess your claim.