There is nothing more devastating than being a victim of medical negligence. Victims of medical negligence often suffer from both the adverse mental and physical effects of the event, and this may severely impact their everyday activities or even scar them for life.
But what exactly is considered medical negligence?
What Is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional does not provide an acceptable standard of care, thus harming or worsening the injury/condition of the patient. Any registered medical practitioner who fails to act with the degree of care, skill, or expertise expected while treating a patient may be liable for professional negligence. According to medical error stats, 251, 454 people die every year as a result of medical negligence. That’s a pretty alarming rate and shows just how rampant this problem is.
Medical negligence comes in many forms. Some of these include:
- Failure to attend quickly to a patient requiring emergency attention when the practitioner was capable of doing so.
- Failed diagnosis or assessment of a patient especially when the features or symptoms are so obvious that no competent medical practitioner could have missed it.
- Prescribing the wrong dosage or medications to a patient.
- Administering treatment or medications without investigating a patient’s medical history.
- Failure to advise a patient.
- Proffering wrong or misleading advice to a patient on the risk involved in a particular procedure, especially if such procedure may result in serious side effects.
- Absence of informed consent of the patient before proceeding with any form of treatment or surgical procedure, especially when consent was compulsory.
- Making an error during a procedure such as prescribing the wrong drug for a correctly diagnosed illness.
- Performing a procedure on the wrong part of the body.
- Failure to transfer or refer a patient promptly when a transfer or referral was required.
- Sheer display of incompetence under any circumstance that required some action for the good of the patient.
- Failure to detail the observations or prescribed treatments administered to a patient.
- Failure to see a patient as often as his/her medical condition requires.
If you (or your loved one) are a victim of medical negligence, you have the right to take legal action against any individual or party responsible for your injury. But, that is easier said than done. To properly assess your injury and assert your rights, you need professional legal help, especially when it comes to understanding the elements of negligence.
What Are The Elements Of Negligence?
To prove that you are a victim of medical negligence, or receive a damage award, you need to prove the five elements of negligence that resulted in injury. An injury doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you can file a personal injury claim unless the five elements of negligence are present in your case.
These elements must be established to consider any case of medical negligence or before liability to pay damages is approved. To do this, you must:
- Prove that the defendant owed you (the plaintiff) a duty to exercise an expected standard of care that would not cause you or others harm.
- Prove that the defendant violated or failed to exercise standard care which led to an injury for you or a family member.
- Prove the correlation between the act of negligence or medical error that occurred and the consequence you or your family member suffered.
- Prove the direct connection between the act of negligence or medical error that occurred and the injury you or your family member sustained as a result.
- Prove that you or your family member suffered injuries, loss, or other expenses as a result of someone else’s error or negligence.
You need to have a clear understanding of these five elements to know your stance before taking any civil action. Of course, you’ll need the help of an expert legal advisor if you want to quickly get a hang of the whole process. Apart from this, there are several other reasons why you need to seek professional legal help in case of medical negligence.
Let’s take a look at some of these reasons:
You may be unable to properly assess your injury as a legal expert would. A legal expert has ample experience and knowledge in cases of medical negligence and can accurately assess your injury and carefully explain your rights before taking the next legal action. Expert attorneys can quickly assess the details of your claim to determine if you have a case.
Medical rights vary from state to state, as such, your rights could be regulated either by the state you live in or the state where the incident occurred. Also, the time limit for medical negligence varies according to state. You need an experienced attorney to help you figure out which law applies to your case or else you may end up being unable to make a claim. Also, since there are no general statistics to determine the amount you may receive as compensation, you will need professional legal help to evaluate the estimated amount you may receive as compensation based on the elements of your case.
With the aid of a medical malpractice attorney, it is much faster to determine which party was legally at fault and speed up the process to recover your damages. Your damages may include:
- Past or future medical expenses
- Physical pain
- Psychological trauma
- Cost of hiring a help
- Loss of care and affection
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of working capacity
- Lost wages from time absent from work
For many medical negligence victims, going to court is one of the most challenging things, and some may even shy away from this. However, with a legal advisor, you may not need to go to court to make a claim. Your medical attorney can easily do that for you, thus saving you the stress and possible trauma. Many medical negligence victims make a claim from the comfort of their homes. If you hire a skilled attorney, you should also be able to make a claim from the convenience of wherever you choose without going through any of the initial court hassles.
Ease Of Evidence Collection
To successfully make a claim, you need to be able to prove medical negligence and that you have suffered mental and physical pain as a result.
To do this, you need specific documents to prove medical negligence. These include;
- Medical records
- Witness interviews
- Financial records
- Detailed statements from the claimant
- Reports from expert consultants that can serve as evidence
However, this may be difficult to pull off on your own. You need the aid of a medical malpractice attorney to gather evidence for your claim.
If you or someone you know is a victim of medical negligence, you need more than an apology; you need to make a claim to recover your damages. To successfully achieve that, you need a knowledgeable legal advisor every step of the way. With professional legal help, you can quickly determine if your claim meets the five elements of negligence required to prove your case. Only after that can your legal team proceed with collecting evidence to further validate your claim.