A groundbreaking study conducted in 2016 by researchers at the world-renown Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine revealed a reality that astounded the media, the public, and most professionals working in the medical field. Medical errors are not only commonplace but also so commonplace and potentially catastrophic that they are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. This means that approximately one out of every ten deaths in the U.S. is caused – at least partly – by medical mistakes.
As astonishing as this statistic was when it was revealed, and still is, it doesn’t fully grasp the reality of the challenges that medical providers and patients face. Not all medical errors result in fatal consequences. This means that, in addition to the tens of thousands of individuals who die each year due to medical errors, an untold number of individuals suffer non-fatal (but potentially life-altering) harm from medical mistakes and other forms of medical negligence.
What does this mean for you? Suppose you’ve recently suffered a form of injury or illness that you suspect was caused by the care (or lack of care) provided by a physician, facility, or another medical care provider. In that case, chances are probably very high that you’re correct.
The Plague Of Uncertainty
One of the primary reasons why it is so difficult for patients to act upon medical mistakes and other forms of medical negligence is that they are not always alerted to the mistakes in question. For obvious reasons, physicians and other healthcare providers are weary of being taken to court. Therefore, they often fail to admit when they suspect or know they have made a mistake.
Additionally, providers may not know immediately that a mistake has occurred. Sometimes, it is not apparent that a mistake has happened until the consequences of that mistake begin to manifest. As a result of these challenges and numerous others, there is a pervasive element of uncertainty that contributes to the ongoing problems of medical mistakes and the ability of patients to act legally against such mistakes.
Often, only after a patient – who may be self-conscious and concerned that they are overreacting – has spoken with an attorney does the patient realize that they have any grounds upon which to take legal action. It is rare for a patient to enter the offices of a personal injury attorney with 100 percent confidence that they have grounds upon which to file a medical malpractice case.
Therefore, if you’re unsure of whether you’re the victim of medical malpractice or not, you’re not alone. Don’t let the reality of uncertainty that plagues the healthcare system keep you from asking questions and exploring your legal options. Depending upon the nature of the unique situation you’re facing, you may be in a solid position to hold at least one medical provider liable for malpractice, even if you’re not yet sure you have a case.
What Must Be Proven
Generally speaking, medical malpractice occurs when a provider fails to honor the professional standard of care required in a situation, and a patient suffers physical harm. There are, essentially, two elements that must be proven in every medical malpractice case. First, it must be proven that the provider named as a defendant in the lawsuit failed to provide the standard of care required under the circumstances. Second, it must be proven that the patient’s harm resulted directly from that substandard care.
Proving these elements can be difficult, depending upon the unique circumstances relevant to any given case. The “standard of care” in question is subjective because the provider’s approach must be compared to how other providers – of similar training and specialty – would have approached the circumstances in question. For example, suppose the standard of care called for in a labor and delivery situation would have been handled by an emergency C-section by other similarly-situated physicians. However, Dr. Drake continued to force the mother to endure labor, resulting in complications. In this case, Dr. Drake may have failed in their duty to provide the requisite level of care required under the circumstances. In this scenario, failing to perform a C-section would be a medical mistake/medical negligence.
Additionally, it can be challenging to prove that the harm a patient has suffered was caused by medical negligence. In the example above, labor-related injuries to the mother or child could likely be traced easily to the failure to perform a C-section. However, other cases are not so straightforward. When a personal injury lawyer represents a medical malpractice victim, they must devise a solid strategy for providing that a provider’s substandard care directly caused the harm in question.
Contact The California Personal Injury Lawyer Team At Our Firm For Free To Learn More
Even if you aren’t sure whether you have grounds upon which to file legal action, you should schedule a free consultation with our firm if you suspect that you or a loved one has been harmed due to medical malpractice. It is not uncommon for medical malpractice victims to be uncertain whether they’re owed compensation until after a discreet investigation has been concluded.
To learn more about your rights and options (and, if applicable, to clarify whether your harm was caused by medical malpractice), reach out to The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, PC, today. Our firm is proud to offer risk-free legal consultations at no cost to anyone concerned that their rights may have been infringed upon. The law applies to all individuals equally, and we believe in the task of clarifying the law for all individuals equally as a result. Schedule your free, confidential case evaluation today by calling (888) 848-5084 or contacting us online. We look forward to speaking with you.
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