When you go to the doctor for help with an illness or injury but come home feeling worse than before, it can feel like a real betrayal. You may be quick to rush to a personal injury law firm and ask how you can file a claim for medical malpractice. But haste makes waste. If you don’t have a legally valid reason to accuse your medical provider of medical malpractice, then your case could falter and your time, energy, and resources could be wasted.
To pursue a medical malpractice claim, you need to be ready to prove that medical malpractice did occur. How can you do that, though?
In general, you need to prove four requirements to build a valid medical malpractice claim:
- Doctor-patient relationship: To start, you have to prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship with the medical provider who caused, worsened, or did not diagnose your injury. This can be easily done if you are dealing with your primary care physician. Although, it can be a complicated matter in emergencies and unclear situations. For example, if you suffer an injury, ask for a doctor in a crowd, and allow them to try to help you as best they can, then you might not be able to sue them for medical malpractice if they make a mistake.
- Negligence: In an injury claim, negligence is an action or decision that would be deemed unreasonable by others in that situation. Taken into medical malpractice context, negligence is considered a treatment or choice carried about by a medical professional that is unreasonable and goes outside accepted standards of medical care. For example, if you complain of chest pain consistently to your doctor and ask for a cardiogram, they refuse it, and you suffer a heart attack later, then your doctor likely acted negligent in your care.
- Injury: After you establish that your medical provider made a negligent decision or performed an inappropriate treatment, you have to prove that the negligence actually caused an injury. Simply getting worse after seeing your doctor is not proof of medical malpractice due to the largely unpredictable nature of injuries, illnesses, and diseases. You’ll have to show that their action – or lack of action – actually hurt you or directly contributed to the worsening of your symptoms. For example, if a surgeon operates on the wrong limb, then the surgical error will cause an obvious injury or injuries, depending on the completed procedure.
- Damages: Lastly, your medical malpractice claim will only be legally sound if you can prove that the injury or illness caused by the medical provider’s negligence created real damages. In a medical malpractice claim, damages can include medical costs, lost wages, future treatments, and pain and suffering. Economic damages can be totaled using bills, expenditures, and receipts. Noneconomic damages like emotional trauma are often calculated by multiplying the economic damages by a percentage unique to the claim, which is meant to represent the extent of suffering experienced by the injured patient.
Do you think you have a medical malpractice claim in Hartford that fits all four of the aforementioned requirements? Find out more and discover your legal options by calling 888.486.3037 and speaking with a medical malpractice lawyer from Zayas Law Firm. We are a bilingual law firm that can assist English- and Spanish-speaking clients.