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Medical Malpractice: An Overview

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured by negligent care or attention by a medical provider or  professional, such as a doctor, nurse, technician or staff member. The laws in regard to medical malpractice vary from state to state. The following is an overview of medical malpractice law along with its rules and regulations.

Essential Requirements Needed for a Claim

In order to be able to prove that medical malpractice has transpired, a claimant must be able to demonstrate at least one of the following:

  1. The medical practitioner acted below the applicable standard of care.
    1. Simply being unhappy with a medical treatment and/or its results does not indicate that the doctor who performed the medical procedure is responsible for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice requires the doctor to have acted below the applicable standard of care in the procedure that caused the patient’s harm or injury. In order to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice, a patient must demonstrate that the medical professional has caused a certain harm or injury that a competent practitioner, acting reasonably under similar circumstances, wouldn’t have. It is important to mention that a doctor or other medical practitioner’s care is not required to be the best and it is definitely not required to be perfect. It is, however, required to be reasonably proficient and thorough under the circumstances. Determining if the doctor performed with these two skills is usually the center of a medical malpractice claim.
  2. The medical practitioner caused the victim’s injury.
    1. Since many medical malpractice claims involve individuals who were already ill or hurt, there is always a question as to the doctor’s role in the injury: acting negligently or not, did the doctor cause the patient harm? In cases where a patient was terminally ill, proving this can be particularly difficult. To help cases such as this, it is often necessary to patient to hire a medical expert who can testify and point out the medical practitioner’s negligence, and that it caused harm.
  3. The medical practitioner carried a medical relationship with the patient.
    1. In order to sue a doctor for medical malpractice, the victim should be a patient of the doctor. A lawsuit against a medical practitioner who was never assigned to care for the individual will not likely be successful. These types of issues are not usually common in a suit but do rise when the consulting practitioner was not the professional who treated the patient directly.
    1. Even if it is evident that a medical practitioner did not perform up to the required standards, the individual presenting the claim must have suffered actual damages, injuries, or other losses. The following is a brief list of some of the most common types of injuries a patient can file a suit for, damages, physical injury(ies), death, increased medical costs, loss of earnings and ability to earn money, pain and suffering.

Obtaining Legal Support

Laws that regulate medical malpractice are highly regulated and often complex. Medical malpractice laws usually vary from region to region and it can be difficult to understand if there is a valid case. If you or someone you know has been injured due to the belief of medical malpractice, consult with a specialized attorney who can help you understand the process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin fight for victims in medical malpractice cases. They have many years of experience in dealing with professional negligence and malpractice cases. Further, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin have the resources necessary to prosecute such cases, which allow them to vigorously champion for their client’s rights.


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