People who are undergoing medical treatment are often in particularly vulnerable situations. When a doctor fails to competently perform his or her medical duties, a medical malpractice case may arise. Medical malpractice lawsuits are a type of personal injury case that are often brought by patients who suffer some sort of harm or damage while undergoing medical treatment. Understanding the basics of medical malpractice cases can help you determine whether you should enlist the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney for more information.
The rules of medical malpractice cases differ from state to state. However, there are some aspects that most medical malpractice cases have in common. For instance, most medical malpractice cases fall into three broad categories – failure to warn of known risks, improper treatment, and failure to diagnose. Doctors have a duty to warn patients of known risks, a process known as informed consent (this point has come up recently in the death of the famed comedienne Joan Rivers — did she know death was a risk of her outpatient surgery?). Doctors who fail to notify a patient of known risks may be liable for medical malpractice if the patient can show that he or she would not have otherwise chosen to go through with the procedure. Improper treatment occurs when a doctor treats the patient in a way that no other competent doctor would. Lastly, failure to diagnose cases can arise when a competent doctor would have either made a different diagnosis or discovered an illness that would have led to a better outcome than the outcome actually achieved by the patient.
In order to establish a medical malpractice claim in Los Angeles, a potential plaintiff must meet several requirements, which an experienced personal injury attorney can discuss with you in depth.
- First, the individual must be able to show that a physician-patient relationship existed between him or herself and the treating individual.
- Second, the plaintiff must be able to show that the doctor was negligent. Establishing negligence goes beyond showing an adverse result, rather, the plaintiff must be able to show that the doctor was not reasonably careful and skillful when treating or diagnosing the patient.
- Third, the plaintiff must be able to show causation – that the negligence of the doctor was the cause of a particular injury or damage. Here, the patient can use medical expert testimony to help prove the doctor’s negligence.
- Fourth, and finally, the plaintiff must be able to show that the injury led to measurable damages. Damages can include compensation for lost earnings or ability to work, medical bills, physical pain, and mental suffering. These are the basic elements to establish a case of medical malpractice, though the necessary elements in your case may vary depending on where your case is brought and the particulars of your claim.
It is important to keep in mind that medical malpractice cases should be brought soon after you have suffered an injury. If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice, speaking to a savvy attorney can help ensure that you are properly compensated.
For more information on how to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in California, contact Los Angeles doctor-turned-lawyer Bradley I. Kramer and BIKLAW today.