When we are severely sick or injured, we put our health in the hands of our doctors, nurses, and surgeons. These medical professionals have a moral and legal responsibility to provide an acceptable level of care to all of their patients. Unfortunately, some of them do not uphold this duty.
Medical malpractice is responsible for roughly 100,000 patient deaths each year, according to the Institute of Medicine. If you believe you have been the victim of an error committed by a medical professional, you should learn more about medical malpractice and what you can do if it happens to you.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to the negligence of a professional health care provider in which substandard treatment was provided that directly caused injury or death to a patient. Medical malpractice is more complex than a simple mistake, and not every medical error constitutes as malpractice.
While medical malpractice can take many different forms, some of the most common examples include:
- A doctor unreasonably fails to diagnose, or misdiagnoses, a medical condition.
- A physician provides incorrect treatment.
- A surgeon operates on the wrong part of the body, or leaves a piece of equipment inside the body.
- A doctor makes a birthing error that causes injury and potentially permanent complications for the newborn.
Suing for medical malpractice
Medical malpractice laws are established to provide a way for victims to recover monetary compensation for their damages. However, winning a medical malpractice lawsuit is not as easy as proving that your doctor made a mistake. In order to have a successful lawsuit, you need to prove that the following elements were in place:
- the existence of a patient-doctor relationship
- the provision of care that fell below the accepted medical standard
- quantifiable harm to the patient
- a connection between the provider’s negligence and the patient’s harm
What should you do?
If you suspect that you, or someone you love, was harmed as the result of a medical professional’s negligence, the first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. A qualified medical malpractice attorney is familiar with legal intricacies and can help you determine whether or not you have the right to sue for your damages. In the event that you do go to trial, your attorney will help put together a case that gives you the best possible chance to win.
In some instances, your medical care provider’s insurance company may reach out to you in an attempt to settle a medical malpractice claim. Don’t accept any type of settlement offer from an insurance company without first speaking to a lawyer.
If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, the attorneys at Stewart Law Offices are available to answer any questions you may have about medical malpractice. Contact us online to get started with a free consultation, or give us a call at (866) 783-9278.