You may have seen commercials on TV about Medical Malpractice cases. But what is Medical Malpractice, and how is it processed in a court of law? Here we will break down what Medical Malpractice is and how it is proven (or disproven) in the American justice system.
We will also discuss Nurse Expert Witnesses and how they can be used by legal teams in a medical malpractice case.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical Malpractice is a term used to describe a situation in which a healthcare professional or provider fails to provide adequate treatment. Medical Malpractice can lead to injury or even death. Medical Malpractice can occur during any part of the healthcare process, such as diagnosis, medication administration, treatment, surgery, or aftercare.
American hospitals and medical centers are tightly regulated and held to a high standard of care. Because of this, many Medical Malpractice laws allow patients to recover compensation in situations of proven medical error.
Medical Malpractice is not new. According to a study by the Medical Malpractice Center, in the USA alone, there are over 15,000 Medical Malpractice suits against doctors every year. Because of this, there are apparent laws and processes that malpractice cases must go through, varying from state to state.
What Types of Situations Can Cause Medical Malpractice Cases?
We know that Medical Malpractice comes from medical error, but what does that mean? For a situation to be considered Medical Malpractice, it must meet certain criteria. The first is that the healthcare provider failed to meet a proper standard of care. In Medical Malpractice, the patient must prove that health care standards were not adhered to.
In addition to proving that the standard of care was not met, a Medical Malpractice case needs to have an injury that resulted from the negligence. If a patient is simply unhappy with how a doctor treated them, that is not the same as medical malpractice.
This brings us to the third criterion: the injury in question needs to have resulted from negligent medical care and nothing else. The injury in question must have damaging consequences that caused enough damage to warrant compensation.
The types of things that would be considered damage caused by injury include permanent disability, pain and suffering, and loss of wages.
Common Medical Malpractice Cases
The most common Medical Malpractice cases are ones where error or negligence is obviously tied to the injury causes. These include inappropriate surgery, early release from care leading to injury, misdiagnoses, or failure to perform testing. Other common Medical Malpractice cases include mishandling medication– such as the incorrect dosage or incorrect medication entirely. Medical Malpractice cases can also involve a fatal infection acquired at the hospital or care negligence leading to pressure ulcers, aka “bed sores.”
The Components of a Medical Malpractice Case
There are several important players in a Medical Malpractice case. The first is the plaintiff, the party that has launched the complaint against the hospital/medical care center. The plaintiff is the one who brings the case to court to sue. The plaintiff could be the patient, their legal team, or the executor of the patient’s estate if the Medical Malpractice caused death. The defendant is the party being sued, the hospital or healthcare provider. The fact-finder is the judge or jury who will review the case and give their opinion on the verdict.
How Medical Malpractice Cases Can End
If the plaintiff is the prevailing party, they may be awarded compensatory and/or punitive damages. The difference is that compensatory damages include things like monetary damages for inability to work, life care expenses, and medical expenses. Compensatory damages are for things such as psychological harm, disability, pain, and emotional distress.
Punitive damages are given to the defendant only if the court finds them guilty of willful negligence.
Legal Medical Consulting
Looking for the best Nurse Expert Witness for your Medical Malpractice case? Give Legal Medical Consulting a call today or check out our website to see how we can help you win your case.