If you have been harmed by a doctor or other medical professional, you may meet the basic requirements for a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to competently perform his or her medical duties. There are many rules governing medical malpractice claims and it is best to know what these rules are before embarking on a quest for compensation. Here are some of the basic requirements for a medical malpractice claim.
A Doctor-patient Relationship
For a medical malpractice claim to commence, you must show a doctor-patient relationship with the medical professional you are suing. You can’t sue a doctor for simply giving advice in an informal setting. You must prove that you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. Proving this is easy with your primary medical provider, but more difficult if you are suing a consulting physician that did not treat you directly.
Negligence Caused The Injury
To sue for malpractice, you must be able to show that the doctor was negligent in connection with your diagnosis or treatment. Negligence means that the doctor’s actions were not reasonably skillful and careful, and that they made mistakes that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have. You cannot sue just because you are unhappy with your treatment or the results. Usually, you must have a medical expert testify that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury to be eligible for compensation.
Damages From The Injury
You can’t lodge a medical malpractice claim if you did not suffer any harm from the medical professional’s actions. However, if the injury did lead to specific damages, you may meet the basic requirements for a claim. These specific damages include, but are not limited to pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, and additional medical expenses. Some of these damages will have a set dollar amount while others must be estimated based on your age, health, and current occupation.
Medical malpractice cases must be brought soon after the injury, typically between six months and two years after the injury occurs, depending on the state. If the lawsuit isn’t filed within the specified period of time, the court will dismiss the case. Many states require the patient to submit the claim to a malpractice review panel first, where they will hear arguments, review evidence and testimony, and decide whether malpractice has occurred. The panel cannot award damages, but its findings can be presented in court for a medical malpractice lawsuit.