When a hospital breaches their duty of care to a patient and the patient becomes injured or unwell as a result of this breach, the patient can sue the hospital for medical malpractice.
In the tragic event someone dies because of a hospital’s medical malpractice, very often, the deceased’s remaining family members or the estate of the deceased, can sue on behalf of a deceased person.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is often defined as any act or omission by a healthcare provider during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community, and this causes an injury to their patient.
Medical malpractice is a subset of tort laws that deals with professional negligence. Negligence is the predominant theory of liability concerning allegations of medical malpractice, which is what makes this type of litigation a part of Tort Law.
Is it always considered medical malpractice when someone is injured or becomes unwell at a hospital?
It is not always considered medical malpractice when someone is injured or becomes unwell at a hospital. Unfortunately, even the most careful, skilled and attentive doctors cannot always save their patients. As well, most procedures from the simplest to the most complicated, carry risks that can cause anywhere from mild to serious problems, sometimes even death. When a patient cannot prove that their injury could have been avoided were it not for a negligent or careless healthcare provider, they may not be able to prove their claim in a lawsuit.
What do you need to do to successfully prove a medical malpractice claim?
There is no catchall guarantee for being able to successfully prove a medical malpractice claim but typically, the plaintiff needs to prove many things to successfully prevail in a medical malpractice claim. While many medical malpractice laws in different states have similarities, each state has its own unique set of laws. It is important to find out the laws specific to your state before pursuing a medical malpractice claim but in general, most medical malpractice cases require that the plaintiff prove at least the following:
Proof of Doctor Patient Relationship The plaintiff needs to prove that they were in fact a patient of the healthcare provider whose negligence they are claiming caused their injury.
Proof of Negligence The plaintiff needs to prove that the healthcare provider did not provide the standard of care to them that is acceptable in the medical community and that their negligence in doing this is what caused their injury.
It is common for medical malpractice cases to involve the testimony of expert witnesses to try to prove a healthcare provider’s negligence.
What is an expert witness?
An expert witness is a person who is permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case. In the case of medical malpractice cases, expert witnesses are often people from the same branch of the medical field that the defendant is a practitioner of. Expert witnesses are often paid by the side that calls them to the stand.
Visit the Law Education Center for more legal questions and answers that may be of interest to you.