Medical malpractice law governs the liability of doctors and other treatment providers when they cause harm to a patient by rendering their services in a negligent manner. All states have their own laws and procedures to handle these specialized personal injury cases. But in general terms, a doctor will be held liable if his or her conduct fails to meet the “standard of care” provided by other doctors under similar circumstances.
Errors that qualify as medical malpractice will typically fall into one of several categories. These include a failure or delay in diagnosing a patient’s condition, misreading X-rays, prescribing the wrong pharmaceuticals, failing to warn a patient of the risks or side effects of a procedure, performing services without the patient’s informed consent, and making a mistake during surgery or childbirth.
When doctors act carelessly, the results can be catastrophic for the patient. It is not surprising, then, that damage awards in medical malpractice cases are among the largest of all personal injury cases. Damages may include medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, decreases in earning potential, punitive damages, as well as compensation for partial or complete impairment, disfigurement, and death.
Expert witnesses play a unique role in medical malpractice lawsuits. Many of the issues debated in these cases, such as whether a surgery was performed correctly, are too complex for judges and juries to understand on their own. This means other doctors must be called upon to study the case, render an opinion, and explain their findings. For the injured patient, the expense of hiring an expert significantly increases the cost of bringing the claim.
A number of public policy groups and elected officials oppose large damage awards in medical malpractice suits. Referred to as tort reform, this effort aims to pass legislation making it more difficult for injured people to file lawsuits, and to cap the amount of damages they can recover once they win. Proponents argue that tort reform will reduce the cost of health care, but the data is inconclusive, and the issue remains highly contentious. The discussion over the medical malpractice lawsuit lasts unabated in the U.S. and the other countries. Previous researches show that a large number of patients do not sue the negligence and tolerate the medical injury. But the claim that patient brings to the court and the capability of the medical malpractice system to appropriately resolve them is still controversial. If the claims are frivolous (a claim that has no rational argument and is grounded upon the law or proof to support the claim) which costly and very common, may be a source of waste in legal systems and health care.
A significant decline has been seen in the rate of the paid claims of medical malpractice which according to researchers report, is dropped approx. 56% 1992-2014. On the other hand, the average rise of the successful paid malpractice claim was 23%. The claims in which the payout is probably small are less likely to be taken by the attorneys. Malpractice payments and trends changed widely among the specialties. According to a recent research, the general practitioners increased the payment about $17,400 and for pathologists; the payment increased almost $139,000. Also in cardiology, the decline in the claim was about 14% and in pediatrics, it was 76%. Life-saving procedures are performed more by the heart doctors, for example, the treatment of the blocked arteries which is why the malpractice claim declined because of their specialty.
Evidence in a medical malpractice case can be challenging to collect and present in a court of law. In general, a case may be broken down into two phases: The Discovery Phase and The Trial. During the discovery phase, the medical malpractice attorney will devote his time and efforts to "discovering" the evidence in the case. This means that he will attempt to gather all of the relevant medical records and medical history of the patient. He will try to learn the identities of all witnesses involved in the care of the patient as well as any family or friends who may know relevant facts about the incident.
What Damages Are Available In Medical Malpractice Claims
To recover the malpractice compensations the patient has to give evidence to prove that he/she sustained damages as a result of the negligence of the practitioner. Below mentioned damages are considered in the medical malpractice cases:
1.Medical bills: This includes the cost on the treatment of the injury that happened due to the practitioner’s negligence or if their carelessness made the injury worsened. This damage covers not only the medicals bills of the past but also the expected cost spent on care in future as well.
2.Lost wages: All the losses are included in this even if the petitioner could take sick leave or vacations. In case if more work is expected to be missed by the plaintiff due to the injury or earning less income due to injury caused by the negligence of the doctor then this damage is also covered in this portion.
3.Pain and suffering: All the emotional distress suffered and the pain sustained due to the injury can be claimed in the court.
4.Wrongful Death: If the patient die due to the negligence of medical practitioner or anyone who could possibly be responsible for the death.
5.Punitive Damages: This damage is covered if the state permits and if the behavior of the doctor was so much negligent.
One important thing is that the medical malpractice lawsuits often settled outside of the courtroom when the health care provider finally admits his fault. A fixed amount is paid to plaintiff by the medical malpractice insurance carrier of the defendant in exchange for giving up all the rights of taking legal action in future. If you are a medical malpractice victim then it is best for you to talk with experienced and qualified malpractice attorney which you can find best in Percy Martinez Law Firm. Proving and causation malpractice may be complicated so our lawyer will help you to collect the evidence and will search for you expert medical witnesses so that you are paid fairly for any harm.