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What Is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence occurs when medical treatment falls short of expected standards. If a patient is injured as a result of medical negligence, that patient may file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the patient dies, the family could then file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The most common type of medical malpractice is a surgical procedure, but it can happen to any nurse, doctor, medical technician, or medical facility. The different types of medical negligence are almost endless. Here are some examples:
Damage to a neighboring organ during surgery.
A misdiagnosis that leads to no treatment of the condition or incorrect treatment of the condition.
A doctor who tells a patient they are fine, causing a delay in treatment that ultimately leads to injury. This is especially dire if the disease is progressive, such as cancer.
A dentist whose careless treatment causes a patient to lose teeth.
The wrong drug or prescribing a drug in a harmful dose. It may be negligence on the part of the prescribing doctor, the nurse administering the medication or the pharmacist.
An unnecessary operation that results in, for example, the patient’s inability to have children.
A botched cosmetic procedure that causes injury or a very unpleasant result.
A medical instrument accidentally left inside a patient during surgery.
Medical chart errors that lead to incorrect medical procedures or medications.
Improper or ineffective anesthesia given before surgery.
An error during birth that results in the death of the infant or permanent injury to the infant, such as brain damage. Cerebral palsy is often the result of this type of medical negligence.
The difficulty of “causation”
In order to have a medical malpractice claim, a patient must prove (1) that the medical professionals had a duty to provide the standard of care and failed to do so, (2) that the patient suffered an injury or harm, and (3) that the injury was caused by the alleged medical negligence.
What does “standard of care” mean? It varies from state to state. Some laws limit the standard to physicians in the same area of the country, while others extend the standard to physicians nationally. For example, a cardiac surgeon will have the level of other surgeons in the same field. If he acted in a manner different from the manner in which most cardiac surgeons would act in similar circumstances, he could be found to be medically negligent.
Because the body is made up of interconnected systems, “causation” is a complicated issue in medical negligence. Medical personnel might argue that the treatment did not cause the injury, but that it was caused by a condition the patient already had.
Psychologists and psychiatrists can also be sued for medical negligence, although these types of cases are much more difficult to prove because not only are the injuries not physical, but the cause is particularly complex.
In any case, malpractice insurance attorneys will likely try to argue that the injury was not caused by medical malpractice.
For this reason, people who suffer injuries are advised to hire an attorney to help them negotiate a settlement and recover their costs. Attorneys in this situation work on a “contingent” basis, meaning they do not require the client to pay them. Their fees are dependent on receiving settlement money from the medical malpractice insurance company. If the lawyer succeeds in reaching a settlement for the client, he will then take a percentage of the money as a fee. If the lawyer is not successful, he does not earn any money for the work. As a result, lawyers work hard to obtain settlements for their clients.
In some states, the settlement may include funds for pain and suffering, which is not reimbursement for costs, but payment for the emotional distress experienced as a result of the injury. Some states also allow for “punitive damages” for gross negligence or misconduct. The amount allowed for such damages is often limited. For example, in the state of California, no more than $250,000 can be awarded for non-economic damages.
In cases of gross negligence or misconduct, local authorities may also initiate criminal proceedings against the doctor or medical facility. This action is separate from a medical malpractice case. In criminal proceedings, the city or state is the plaintiff. A medical malpractice lawsuit is called a “civil” lawsuit, and the plaintiff in such a case is the injured patient. However, both criminal and civil cases would have one or more defendants in common. The defendant is the person who defends the claim – the party or parties who are alleged to have committed medical negligence.
Note that only in cases of gross negligence will the health authority withdraw the doctor’s medical certificate.
Do all medical malpractice cases go to trial?
Most of these cases are settled out of court, but when the parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, the case goes to court. A judge or jury will then decide whether the patient is entitled to the money and in what amount. But it could take years of negotiations before the case goes to trial. During this period, lawyers for both sides prepare legal documents that answer the other side’s questions. These are called “pre-trial discovery” papers.
Party depositions are also often accepted. These are interviews that allow opposing counsel to ask questions.
It is not uncommon for a settlement to occur in court during the jury selection process. This is a tactic that pushes both sides to the wall and tries to get them to surrender. The plaintiff wants the defendant to give up by offering more money in the settlement, while the defendant wants the plaintiff to give up by accepting the current settlement. offer. No one ever wants to take a case to court if it can be helped because the court costs are much higher than settling out of court.
However, if the defendant’s attorney believes that rejecting a high settlement request can save money, a trial is likely.
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