Medical malpractice occurs whenever a healthcare worker acts negligently in providing patient care. This can be by failing to take the right safeguards to protect the patient’s health or by failing to provide the proper care for an individual. Doctors are typically thought of as being the ones that commit malpractice; however, nurses, medical assistants and even laboratory technicians can be guilty of it as well.
Requirements for Proving Malpractice
When bringing about a medical malpractice suit, there are certain things that must be shown before negligence will be determined. The basic requirements for filing a medical malpractice claim are:
- That a practitioner-patient relationship existed
- The practitioner was negligent
- This negligence was the cause of an illness or injury
- Damages ensued as a result
All of these things must be shown before relief can be granted in a court of law. Plaintiffs are generally required to prove it was “more likely than not” that these things happened in order to prevail.
Not Everything Qualifies as Medical Malpractice
When trying to determine whether or not medical malpractice occurred, it’s important to note that not every mistake made by a doctor or other healthcare worker qualifies. Likewise, simply being unhappy with a particular treatment is not enough to substantiate a claim of medical malpractice. In many cases, it will be necessary to have an expert witness testify as to the basis of care that should have been provided in order to gauge whether or not a provider was actually negligent.
Common Types of Malpractice
Healthcare malpractice can encompass a number of things, but there are a few common types that are more common than others are:
- Failing to make a diagnosis
- Making an inaccurate diagnosis
- Recommending an improper treatment
- Failing to recommend a treatment
- Not giving ample warning about the risks of a procedure or treatment
- Failing to obtain consent
Who is Responsible?
The responsible party in a malpractice case depends on who actually committed the offense. When it involves employees of a hospital, the administration of that hospital could be held liable for damages. If it occurred at the hands of a physician, the doctor could be held personally responsible. In extreme cases, there could be more than one responsible party that would need to be named in a lawsuit. Knowing who should be named in a lawsuit is very important, as petitioners who fail to name a responsible party could lose the right to bring suit against him or her at a later time.
Hospital injuries can be overwhelming without proper legal guidance. If you or a loved one has been injured in a hospital, then the best thing you can do is pick up the phone and call 713-222-1222 to schedule a free case evaluation.
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