Doctors have a standard of care that they have to meet. This helps them be accountable for their actions and service they provide their patients. Of course, doctors are only human and they will make mistakes. But, what happens when you feel their mistake(s) could have been avoided by any other doctor? If you feel that you or a loved one didn't receive proper care by a doctor, which resulted in further health problems, you can file a medical malpractice case. Here are three things to keep in mind about your case.
1. Be prepared for an intense legal battle.
It isn't often that a doctor being sued for medical malpractice doesn't fight back. Even though they are covered by medical malpractice insurance, the doctor won't just agree that they were negligent in your care. Doing so would put a huge blemish on their reputation in the medical community. So, they will fight your claim with everything they have.
Your character and even personal habits can be called into question during a case like this. You need to be emotionally prepared for that before you file your case.
2. The doctor has several different acceptable defenses he or she can use.
Medical malpractice can be a tricky personal injury case. The reason is because medicine is a practice. Doctors can never say for sure that a particular treatment will work for a patient. Even if it works for most patients, you could end up being the exception and it's not because either of you did anything wrong.
One defense the doctor can use is patient negligence. A patient can be deemed negligent if they neglected to disclose their full medical history or they impacted their treatment through their own actions or inaction.
Of course, sometimes this can be difficult because the patient may not have known they had a certain condition that they have had for years. There have been people who have lived for many years with a heart defect and they had no clue about it. However, if their past medical records show they had a condition that they didn't disclose to the doctor, the patient could be the one deemed negligent instead of the doctor.
The doctor can also use the respectable minority principle as a defense in medical malpractice. If the treatment the doctor prescribed was new and had risks the patient was informed of, as long as a respectable minority of other doctors would have prescribed the same treatment, the patient likely won't win their medical malpractice case.
There are other defenses the doctor can use, but those two are the most commonly used ones.
3. You could have a very difficult time proving your case.
Medical malpractice generally hinges on the doctor being negligent. Unless you are also a medical professional, it can be difficult to know where to start when trying to prove the doctor was negligent.
It isn't likely that the court will accept articles that you have read about the success rate of a particular treatment as proof of negligence. You will need to have other highly respected doctors evaluate your medical records to see if there was something that your doctor should have seen, but missed.
Of course, it falls on your lawyer to get your medical records evaluated. If they do this and an expert tells them that there was no medical malpractice that they could see, your attorney will likely not proceed with the case.
On the other hand, even if a medical expert says there could be a case of medical malpractice in the way you were treated, it can still be an uphill battle in court. Because, even if negligence on the part of the doctor is proved, you must also prove that this negligence caused you, the patient, harm. If the end result would have likely been the same regardless of your quality of care, you don't really have grounds to sue for medical malpractice.
Learn more by contacting attorneys like Steven J Glaser, Atty.