It’s a common misconception that if a patient is unhappy with the outcome of a medical procedure, he or she has a malpractice claim.
By definition, malpractice involves a patient harmed by a doctor or other medical professional, in treatment or during a procedure, and the action directly results in pain and suffering. The scenario sounds straightforward but is far less easy to prove in a court of law.
How do you know if you have a legitimate medical practice claim?
You should be able to answer the following points:
1. A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed
You must have “hired” the doctor to perform treatment, and the doctor agreed to perform it. At this stage, proving this point is as simple as showing the doctor saw you for a visit and gave you advice.
2. The Doctor Was Negligent
Medical malpractice encompasses a range of claims: misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, lack of consent, and a breach of patient confidentiality. In all, the common factor is, the doctor performed in a way a competent doctor wouldn’t, and the negligence directly led to the patient’s injury.
This is where proving a malpractice claim becomes complicated. The plaintiff must show the doctor didn’t provide the expected standard of care, and in response, expert witnesses – usually, other medical professionals – must prove that any other doctor would have handled the situation differently.
Because this area can be vague, several states require a “certificate of merit” when you file your case. With this document, another expert must examine your medical records and then indicate your doctor deviated from standard procedures.
3. Negligence Resulted in Injury, Which Then Harmed the Patient
Even when it’s clear that negligence existed, the plaintiff must then provide evidence the action directly resulted in the injury, and that specifically harmed the patient. “Harm” may be experiencing physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills, time away from work, and lost earning capacity because of the injury.
Although this list appears extensive, if you suspect medical malpractice occurred, it’s recommended you start working on your claim as soon as possible. States have a statute of limitations ranging from six months to two years from the time the negligence occurred or when the patient discovered the injury.
If you believe a lack of, incorrect, or sub-standard treatment resulted in your injury, start proving your claim with Trantolo & Trantolo’s malpractice lawyers. Contact our Connecticut office to learn more.