Medical Malpractice Claims

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When you seek medical treatment from a licenced expert, you trust that they will provide the best possible care and minimize your concerns rather than exacerbate them. Unfortunately, medical negligence is common, and patients may suffer injury or even death as a result. Researchers at John Hopkins University discovered that medical errors cause over 250,000 deaths each year, making them the third-highest cause of mortality in the United States.

The term medical malpractice applies to any act by a physician during the treatment of a patient that fails to meet standards of medical practice and causes harm to the patient. It may also refer to an injury that results from a doctor's failure to act, or negligence.

The law does not hold doctors legally responsible for all diagnostic errors. Instead, patients usually must prove three things in order to prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit based on a wrong diagnosis:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed.
  • The doctor was negligent
  • The doctor's negligence caused actual injury to the patient.

Most medical malpractice cases hinge on either the second or third element (or both) - was the doctor negligent and did that negligence harm the patient? 

If you suffered an injury or the loss of a loved one resulting from medical malpractice, you might wish to hold the medical professionals who harmed you accountable and seek compensation for your injuries. However, these cases involve many complex laws and requirements, and the challenge often discourages victims from pursuing their claims. A study published in Studies in Health Technology and Informatics found that victims report less than 10% of medical malpractice claims, due in part to the difficulty of navigating the reporting system.

Misdiagnosed Illness

A large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, illness, or injury. A doctor may be held liable for misdiagnosis if he or she deviates from established medical procedures that another doctor would follow in similar circumstances. 

Failure to treat

Doctors and other medical professionals undergo extensive training and years of studying before they can treat patients. Physicians are not infallible, but you have faith in their ability to detect what is wrong and provide proper treatment when you are unwell. If you visit your doctor and they fail to treat what is wrong with you, and their failure to treat you causes injury, you may have grounds to take legal action against them and pursue compensation for your injuries.

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