Understanding Medical Malpractice

closeup image of surgical mask, stethoscope, and gloves

Medical malpractice is when a patient is injured due to the failure of their healthcare professional to provide an acceptable standard of care. These injuries can result from a variety of mistakes caused by doctors, nurses, or other individuals involved in a patient’s diagnosis, treatment, or follow-up.

There are many different ways for medical malpractice to occur. Prescription mistakes can range from incorrect dosages to inappropriate medications. Anti-depressants especially have been known to lead to suicide when prescribed incorrectly. Negligent mistakes before, during, and after surgery can lead to serious injury for victims. Failure to make a referral to a specialist better suited to treating a particular illness can also cause significant harm by preventing a victim from receiving appropriate treatment.

When someone is a victim of medical malpractice their first step in seeking redress is generally to consult an attorney that will handle their case for them. The representing attorney will consult with medical experts concerning the victim’s treatment and injuries before proceeding with a case filing.

The medical malpractice attorney will then file a complaint against the offending healthcare professional to initiate a lawsuit. During this time before the case goes to trial the healthcare professional, and any witnesses, will be questioned regarding information related to the treatment and injuries received. Frequently such cases may be settled without ever going to court. If a settlement offer is made, the victim’s attorney can provide perspective as to whether or not it is just compensation for the extent of the damage and suffering caused. Such a settlement offer is generally open to negotiation if it is not satisfactory. If a settlement is not reached the case will proceed to trial before a jury that will decide fault.

Whether through settlement or a successful jury trial victims are entitled to various types of compensation:

  • Medical bills for treatment to remedy the injury and any related future medical expenses.
  • Lost wages stemming from missed work and impairment that may affect their future earnings.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering caused by the injury.

In cases involving an especially negligent set of actions or treatments the victim may even be awarded punitive damages.  If you’d like to learn more about medical malpractice, visit our section of the website here or speak with an attorney with our law firm if it is regarding a case.

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