What is Medical Malpractice?

There is always an inherent level of risk present when a medical procedure is performed; however, patients deserve legal remuneration when harmed by a medical professional’s negligence. As such, medical malpractice laws exist to protect medical patients. Here, the Law Office of Doug T. Sachse explains the basics of medical malpractice. 

Medical malpractice is legally defined as the failure on a medical professional’s part to provide a reasonable standard of care to a patient. A “reasonable standard of care” is the medical practice or method of treatment commonly accepted as a basic standard by most doctors.

There are four criteria a medical malpractice claim must meet if a plaintiff wishes to receive some sort of legal remuneration. These criteria are:

A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed

The plaintiff must be, or have been, a patient of the medical professional. This means that the patient must have hired the professional, and the professional must have agreed to be hired.

The Medical Professional was Negligent

The medical professional must have been negligent in some way, meaning they did not adhere to a reasonable standard of care. A failed medical procedure or treatment is not inherently due to negligence—sometimes, unfortunate situations are unavoidable, even for the most skilled of doctors. Negligence has only occurred if a medical professional’s actions or behavior does not meet with the basic standard of care used by most medical professionals.

The Negligence Caused Injury

Any negligence on the part of the physician must cause some sort of injury to the patient. This injury could be physical or mental, but it must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence that it was the negligence that caused harm, and not the underlying disease, condition or other factor. A medical expert is often asked to provide expert testimony to this effect.

The Injury Caused Specific Damages

A patient may only press charges if the negligent action(s) led to some sort of damage to them. This damage may include: physical injury, additional medical bills, time missed from work or lost earning capacity and mental anguish.

While medical malpractice cases are all unique, there are several general categories most medical malpractice claims fall into. These include:

A Failure to Diagnose

Your doctor failed to properly diagnose you in a situation where a competent doctor could have, and this diagnosis would have led to a better outcome.

Improper Treatment

Your doctor prescribed or initiated treatment no competent doctor would, or did not administer a proper treatment fully.

A Failure to Warn a Patient of Known Risks

Your doctor has the duty of informed consent, meaning they must adequately warn their patients of any known risks or harm a treatment could present to them. A doctor who fails to do this may be considered negligent.

If you wish to seek legal remuneration due to medical malpractice, know that the statute of limitations in Maryland is five years from when the incident occurred, or three years from when an injury was discovered, in most cases. Also, note that Maryland has contributory negligence laws in placed, meaning that any harm that is self-inflicted in any way will bar a plaintiff from seeking remuneration. It is advisable for individuals who believe they have been the victim of medical malpractice to seek the expert knowledge of a skilled medical malpractice attorney. The Law Offices of Doug T. Sachse have spent years representing medical malpractice victims in court, ensuring they receive the justice they deserve. Let one of our experienced attorneys review the unique aspects of your case—contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

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