Medical Malpractice Basics
Medical malpractice is a serious problem in the U.S. In fact, it is now the third leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Experts estimate that medical errors kill approximately 200,000 Americans annually. In 2012, over $3 billion was expended in medical malpractice payouts, or one payment every 43 minutes on average.
So what is medical malpractice and how can you avoid falling victim to it? Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to competently perform his or her medical duties and harms a patient as a result. The proper standard of care is defined as what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances. If the doctor or other healthcare professional deviates from this standard of care, he or she has acted negligently and the patient may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim.
Most malpractice claims are in one of three categories. The main types are failure to diagnose, improper treatment, and failure to warn of known risks. In order to bring a claim for medical malpractice, the plaintiff or patient needs to meet several requirements. First, the patient must show that a doctor-patient relationship existed. Second, the patient must prove that the doctor acted negligently. Third, the patient must show that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury. Finally, that the injury led to specific damages.
If you suspect you have been harmed by negligent medical care, keep a few facts in mind. These cases are often highly expensive, complex, and long lasting, and require medical experts, extensive patient history, and critical cross-examination. For these reasons, hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney is critical.
Also be aware that you have a short amount of time to file your claim from the date of injury. In Ohio it is just one year, but other states allow up to two. If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim, contact an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice cases. For a free consultation on your potential medical malpractice claim, call the Fitch Law Firm at 855-529-6446.