Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
A medical malpractice takes place when a healthcare professional, such a as a doctor, causes personal injury in the process of treatment or diagnosis. On average, a victim of a successful medical malpractice lawsuit can be awarded a few hundred thousand dollars. However, even if your doctor made a mistake while treating you, this does not guarantee that you will win a lawsuit.
High Standard of Care
In a more common personal injury case, such as a car accident, the defendant would be responsible if he failed to act responsibly or as careful as he should have. When the defendant happens to be a professional, such as a doctor or other healthcare professional, the standards are raised enormously. When the provider is a professional, he/she is responsible for failure to act as prudent or careful as any other healthcare professional in the same area of specialty, considering the background of education, licensing, and years of training. This does not mean that every professional must make the perfect decision in every single situation. If this were the case, every patient could sue any doctor they desired.
Evidence for Malpractice
In order to win a medical malpractice case, you must have valid evidence. If the patient suffered no harm, then there is no case to take to court. Damages can take a number of forms. An individual may claim damages for either present or future medical expenses, pain, suffering, and lost wages. One may even claim “loss of consortium” if the medical injury has resulted in loss or prevention of enjoying sexual relations with his/her spouse. In most cases, the amount awarded for individuals who suffered from psychological pain or damage, is much greater than the amount awarded for medical expenses.
Filing A Complaint
Filing a complaint is the first step in initiating a medical malpractice lawsuit against a healthcare professional. Typically, this complaint must be filed in the state where the malpractice occurred. Summons must also be completed, which demand that the defendant appear at court to defend the case. A state official will then deliver all documents to the defendant. In some cases, it is necessary to sue more than one party. For instance, one may have to sue the surgeon, the hospital, and the recovery center. In the case that the defendant is part of a general partnership, it may be possible to sue each member of the partnership.
Most medical malpractice cases are settled outside of the court with the defendants insurance company. In most cases, the court will encourage both parties to settle. A settlement may be reached at any time before the final verdict. It is likely that the insurance company will encourage you to sign an agreement stating that you will not file a suit on the same claim ever again. Before signing, one should make sure that the agreement addresses and covers all losses now and in the future. But, this can sometimes be hard to predict. One should not sign a settlement before having it reviewed by a qualified lawyer.
Each case is unique and therefore there are no set guidelines for every case. Experienced personal injury lawyers handle hundreds of cases a day and have the most knowledge to guide you through the process.