What is the Basis for Most Medical Malpractice Claims?

We get a lot of calls from individuals who want to know what it takes to make a medical malpractice claim. Too often, these calls are prompted by tragic outcomes from medical procedures such as surgeries. But this is just one example of the kind of situation that can result in the opening of a medical malpractice claim - which leads many to wonder, what is the basis for most medical malpractice claims? Similarly, what defines malpractice, and how do you know if you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice? Finally, if you think you have been harmed by medical malpractice, what are your next steps for opening a claim?

We’ll take you through the answers to these questions and more in the video above and the article that follows.

What is the Basis for Most Medical Malpractice Claims?

The basis for a medical malpractice claim can vary widely. However, the most common reasons we see for opening a medical malpractice claim are:

Outcomes from Medical Procedures 

One of the most common bases for medical malpractice claims is lack of proper care during a medical procedure, such as a surgery, that results in harm to the patient. This harm can include personal injury, infection, or even death.

Drug Errors

Drug and medication errors also factor into the basis of many medical malpractice claims. This can include administering the wrong medication, administering medication at the wrong dosage, failing to warn a patient of harmful side effects of a medication, prescribing medications a patient is allergic to or which will interact negatively with the patient’s other medications, and more.

Wrong Diagnoses 

Diagnostic issues that can constitute medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, or delayed diagnosis, all of which can cause an undiagnosed medical condition to worsen and/or cause harm from treating the wrong condition. To learn more about the differences and similarities among these terms, read our article on misdiagnosis.

Learn more about the types of medical practitioner errors that result in medical malpractice.

What is Malpractice in Medicine?

The simple definition of medical malpractice is when a medical practitioner - be it a doctor, a nurse, a specialist, or any other health care provider - does something they aren’t supposed to do or doesn’t do something they are supposed to do.

Of course, this definition isn’t the most specific, which can leave a lot to interpretation. So, how do we determine if an error actually counts as medical malpractice? We use something called a reasonable standard of care.

The Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Case

You can think of the standard of care as the “C-student standard.” In other words, practitioners don’t have to be perfect, but they should be held to the “average” standard, i.e., the performance of an average professional peer with similar training and under similar circumstances. Often, expert witnesses - independent healthcare providers - are used to determine an objective standard of care.

Medical Malpractice is a Serious Problem

A Harvard Medical School study from a few years ago estimated that about 100,000 people die needlessly in hospitals every year. That’s more people than die on the roads in auto accidents every year. This figure is all the more tragic considering that these deaths resulted from preventable medical mistakes, ranging from errors in diagnosis and treatment to surgical or pharmacist errors.

The Difficulty of Proving Medical Malpractice

Creating a strong basis for most medical malpractice claims involves much more than many might think. Medical malpractice cases are notoriously challenging to establish and win, partly because of the complex medical evidence required, and partly because care providers have a vested interest in defending themselves against dire financial and professional consequences.

For this reason, evidence needs to be presented very thoroughly and carefully, with full detailed knowledge of the law. This is why so many claimants turn to legal counsel when pursuing litigation for medical malpractice.

Getting a Medical Malpractice Claim Started

Did your level of care fall below the accepted standard? If so, you’ll need to gather and present a thorough set of evidence to support this. It’s a good idea to call an experienced medical malpractice attorney, who will typically start by:

  • Obtaining your medical records    
  • Having them reviewed by an independent physician - i.e., an expert witness    

The medical malpractice attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield have plenty of experience with these kinds of cases. If you need help getting a medical malpractice claim started, feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide a free consultation.

Call us at 1.877.928.9147 For A Free Consultation!

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