Medical malpractice is a serious issue in the United States and can lead to great pain for the patient, family of the patient, or both. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer. Even those events that do not result in the death of the patient can still do serious harm, and several billions of dollars are spent each year on medical malpractice payouts.
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to the actions or inaction of a doctor or other medical professional, you may be entitled to damages as part of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Unfortunately, these cases are not always cut-and-dry, and it may be difficult to know whether or not you were the victim of medical malpractice.
What constitutes as medical malpractice? How do you know if you are a victim? If you are in Lake Stevens and feel as though the actions of your healthcare provider have caused you harm, we may be able to help you.
Simply put, medical malpractice occurs when an error by a doctor or other medical professional is responsible for injuring or killing a patient. This means either the healthcare professional has taken direct action which caused harm to a patient, or the professional failed to do something that directly led to the injury.
Medical malpractice is not limited to doctors. Medical malpractice can come from a nurse, technician or any other health care professional whose actions or lack of action directly led to harming the patient. If the injury was caused by inaction which fell short of the general standard of care, it can also be known as medical negligence, although this is still a form of medical malpractice.
Medical professionals do not set out to intentionally harm patients, and most medical malpractice cases are instances of medical negligence. This means that the doctor, nurse or other medical professional made a mistake or omission that caused an injury or death of the patient. A few common examples include the misdiagnosis of a disease or condition, failure to provide proper care or medication, careless treatment which caused harm, and many more.
Medical negligence occurs when the treatment provided by a healthcare professional falls short of the accepted medical standard of care. This standard of care is the method (or methods) of treatment generally accepted in the medical profession as being appropriate.
In a medical negligence case, the plaintiff must prove that the treatment provided by the medical professional did not adhere to this medical standard of care. A case may become complicated by the fact that the standard of care may vary depending on factors such as training level of the professional, age of the patient, geographical area, or gender of the patient, as well as many other aspects of the case.
Although medical negligence occurs when a medical professional’s inaction or omission cause harm, medical malpractice can also occur when the treatment or actions themselves harmed the patient. Some examples include amputation of the wrong limb, making a mistake during surgery that leads to nerve or other damage, knowingly prescribing the wrong treatment for a condition or other harmful actions that led to an injury or the worsening of a condition.
In order to determine whether or not you have a grounds for a medical malpractice suit, you must show two basic factors of your case.
Although that may seem relatively straightforward, medical malpractice suits are anything but. Most healthcare professionals pay for malpractice insurance to provide protection from these types of lawsuits. Consequently, you will not just deal with the medical professional’s office, but may also argue against an insurance company who specializes in these types of cases and has an arsenal of funds and attorneys at their disposal.
It is crucial that you have a skilled, experienced representative on your side when filing a medical malpractice claim. We at Russell & Hill, PLLC have years of experience helping the residents of Lake Stevens get justice for the negligence of medical professionals. We work on a strict contingency basis and will not get paid until you win your case.