If you have suffered injuries after consulting with or receiving treatment from a medical professional, you may be wondering whether you have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. Because the field of medical malpractice law is a special area of personal injury, it can be especially difficult to navigate the process. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about medical malpractice. Although it is not a comprehensive list, we hope it will assist you in becoming more informed about the general nature of medical malpractice. If you have more questions or if you would like to discuss your specific situation with a legal professional, call a Santa Clarita personal injury lawyer from our firm today.
What is medical malpractice?
In legal terms, medical malpractice is a form of professional negligence committed by a trained medical provider. Medical malpractice is branch of personal injury and tort law but it has a higher standard of care for those under its jurisdiction, making them liable for any injuries that result from subpar treatment. Deviations from those standards either because of carelessness or recklessness warrant civil action for compensation.
What is the standard of care for medical professionals?
In other areas of personal injury law, it is the state that determines the established standard of care. However, because medical malpractice is a specific form of professional negligence, the standard of care for the medical field is determined by the medical community. The standard is not determined by outstanding care or even whether the professional did everything he or she could have. Rather, the comparison is whether any reasonable medical professional with similar training, expertise and in similar circumstances would have acted differently. This standard is different for each medical provider as training, literature and experience are vary from individual to individual.
How do I know if my injuries were caused by medical malpractice?
There are three main elements of proof in any medical malpractice claim. If you are wondering whether your injuries were due to medical malpractice, consider these three things. First, there must be a direct established relationship between you, the patient, and the doctor you believe is responsible. That relationship must have been established prior to the incident that you believe led to your injuries. This is in order to establish that the doctor had a duty to care for you at the standard of care for his or her situation. Secondly, the doctor must have deviated from that duty in some way. This is known as a breach of duty. Lastly, the breach of duty must be the direct cause of your injuries. If you believe that a doctor made a mistake while treating you, that mistake must have caused the injuries. In other words, the injuries would not have existed if the mistake had never happened. If your situation seems to fit this description, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim but you should consult with a Santa Clarita personal injury attorney to gain a more specific perspective and advice.
Who can be liable for medical malpractice?
The legal concept of medical malpractice extends beyond the sphere of the medical doctor. Nurses, medical technicians, specialists, pharmacists and physical therapists are some examples of other medical professionals who can be sued for medical malpractice. Furthermore, special cases may even warrant larger scale action against the hospital, medical facility or even the pharmaceutical company whose negligence led to the injuries.
Will I have to go to court for my medical malpractice claim?
While a majority of medical malpractice claims do reach a favorable settlement before reaching court, some do require the completion of a court trial and a decision by a jury in order to be concluded. It is difficult to predict whether your case will go to trial since is depends heavily on the specifics of your situation and how cooperative the doctor's malpractice insurance company is.
What is "informed consent"?
When a patient is treated, the doctor and/or nurses are required to explain the procedure or treatment and any possible risks that may be associated with it. This is to inform the patient of risks ahead of time and give them the ability to opt out of the procedure if they believe the risk is too high for them. If the doctor fails to establish informed consent and the patient suffers injury from the procedure, the patient may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim.
If you suffered injuries after receiving treatment from a medical professional, contact a Santa Clarita personal injury attorney to discuss your case and determine whether filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is a viable option for you.