Doctors are human. As such, they sometimes make mistakes when diagnosing or treating a patient. While some mistakes are relatively minor and cause no real harm, others can be catastrophic, resulting in severe injury or death to their patients. In the event that a medical professional should fail to exercise the standard of care and cause harm to a patient, they may be held civilly liable for medical malpractice. But what types of mistakes can be considered negligent, and what does a patient need to be able to prove in order to recover compensation for their losses?
In order to prove medical malpractice occurred, you must be able to satisfy the following elements:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed: A person suing for medical negligence must be able to demonstrate that a physician-patient relationship existed between them and their doctor. In other words, they need to be able to show that they hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired.
- The doctor acted negligently: Just because you may be unhappy with the results of your treatment does not necessarily mean that your doctor is liable for malpractice. Your doctor must have acted in such a fashion that they violated the medical standard of care in your diagnosis or treatment. To sue for malpractice, you need to show that a doctor failed to act reasonably skillful and careful, or in a manner that a competent doctor would not have acted under the same circumstances.
- The act of negligence caused you injury: Showing that a doctor made a mistake is not enough to prove medical negligence. You will also need to show that their actions or inaction directly caused your health condition to worsen, or caused you to suffer some sort of injury. The point of this element is to show that the harm you suffered was not caused by any other underlying medical condition outside the doctor’s influence, but rather the doctor’s substandard care.
- You suffered specific damages: Even if you have satisfied the first three elements, if no real harm was caused, you do not have a case. Examples of real harm include physical pain, mental distress, additional medical costs, lost earning capacity, and reduced quality of life.
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If you have been injured by a doctor’s failed diagnosis, improper treatment, or failure to warn of known risks, the Worcester personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr. can help you fight for justice and seek maximum compensation for your mistreatment. To find out more about why so many clients love us, schedule a free case review with our knowledgeable legal professionals today.