Every time you put your life in the hands of a medical team, there will be risks. Generally, most people trust that they are being cared for with professionalism when they need medical assistance. Unfortunately, according to the Journal of American Medical Association, the third most common cause of death is medical malpractice.
For patients, this statistic may be shocking and give them pause about the amount of trust that they blindly lay at the hands of medical professionals. The best defense against becoming a victim of malpractice is to be aware of your rights and stay informed.
Dealing with medical malpractice issues can be stressful, and the injuries can be long-lasting. If you fear that you have been injured due to medical malpractice, it’s imperative to talk to a professional attorney to get the best advice. In the meantime, there are some important facts about malpractice that everyone should know.
Definition of Medical Malpractice
To determine if you or a loved one may have experienced medical malpractice, it’s crucial that the legal definition be understood. There are mistakes made during many medical procedures that do not necessarily qualify as malpractice. Talking to a legal representative can help you to determine whether or not you have a case.
Medical malpractice occurs when a health-care provider deviates from the recognized “standard of care” in the treatment of a patient. “Standard of care” is defined as what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.
Statute of Limitations
Patients are often wary that they haven’t acted quickly enough to claim malpractice. It may take time for injuries or mistakes to be discovered and traced back to negligence. Each state has its own rulings on how long the deadline is to file a malpractice case. Particular legal procedures must be followed before the expiring of the statute. This is one of the most critical reasons patients should quickly consult with an attorney to help them file before running out on their case.
Common Malpractice Causes
Every medical care case is different and should be treated on an individual basis. However, there are some common roots behind many instances of malpractice. Mental fatigue is often the cause of mistakes and errors in the medical field. Exhaustion and stress can easily lead to poor decision-making or carelessness that can result in negligence.
Prescribing or administering incorrect medications or dosages is a common form of malpractice. Failure to diagnose is also one of the leading causes of malpractice.
There are several specific requirements to be able to prove that you have a viable malpractice case.
- Doctor/patient relationship must have formally existed
- The medical professional was negligent
- The negligence caused an injury
- The injury led to specific losses.
Although you may want to put all of your trust in your medical team, it’s essential to be proactive and stay informed through open communication. Maintaining proper documentation, requesting that your team walk you through each part of your treatment, and resisting the impulse to be intimidated by your team and act as your advocate can protect you from malpractice.
When it comes to your health, you don’t have to be afraid to get a second opinion. If you feel like you aren’t getting the right care, or have been a victim of malpractice and negligence, know your rights and talk to an attorney today to protect your future.