Medical malpractice is one of the most common forms of personal injury cases and is based on the relationship between a patient and their medical provider. It occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor, or another medical professional, who does not perform their medical duties competently based on the standards of care. About 20,000 medical malpractice claims are filed every year and while each claim is unique and every state has different rules and regulations, each claim needs to meet these basic requirements in order to have legal traction.
If you or a loved one are seeking a medical malpractice attorney for a possible claim, you must first establish that there was a doctor-patient relationship with the doctor you want to sue. This type of relationship is defined by a patient hiring a doctor and the doctor agreeing to be hired. Typically, if a doctor began seeing you and treating you directly, then you have the first requirement for a medical malpractice case.
For a medical malpractice attorney to sue a doctor on your behalf, the attorney must be able to prove that a competent doctor under the same circumstances would not have caused the same harm that your doctor did. The doctor’s care needs to have been negligent in direct connection with your treatment or diagnosis, not simply unsatisfactory to your expectations.
This part can be difficult because the patient was likely already injured or sick when they started seeing the doctor. The key to checking off this box is showing that more likely than not, the doctor’s incompetence directly resulted in further injury.
The final point to solidifying a medical malpractice case is that the patient suffered harm. If the doctor just performed below the expected standard of care without resulting in significant damages, the case typically does not qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients can sue for various types of damages. These types include additional medical bills, lost time for work and wages, physical pain, future medical needs/costs, and mental anguish.
If you think that you or a loved one might have a case that meets these basic requirements, contact a medical malpractice attorney right away. Every case is different, and an experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to give you the best counsel on how to proceed.