What must be proven in a medical malpractice claim?
Physicians and other healthcare providers have a responsibility to uphold a certain standard of care when treating patients, and the vast majority do. But unfortunately, some medical providers and facilities breach their duty of care through negligence, causing patients to become injured or ill.
If you were harmed due to an act of medical negligence, you could be entitled to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. To prove your claim, you will need evidence of negligence. This can be difficult to do without an attorney’s help, which is why we highly recommend securing legal representation to help you navigate the claims process.
The Virginia Beach medical malpractice attorneys at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C. have the skills and resources to help you bring a successful claim. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation to discuss your case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
When a physician or other healthcare professional harms a patient by providing substandard care, they can be held financially liable for their negligence. It is important to note that just because a patient’s treatment did not achieve the desired results does not necessarily mean medical malpractice has occurred. For a medical provider’s actions to be considered malpractice, the patient must be able to show that the provider deviated from the standard of care required by their profession.
The Four Elements of Medical Malpractice
A successful medical malpractice claim consists of four primary elements. If you were harmed by a healthcare professional, you would need to be able to demonstrate all of these things to claim compensation:
- You had a pre-existing doctor-patient relationship with the medical provider or facility. For example, you couldn’t hold a doctor who offered you advice at a party liable for any injuries you suffered by listening to them. You must establish that you were actually being treated by the medical provider you plan to file a claim against.
- You must also establish that the medical provider or facility was negligent or failed to provide competent care. Just because you are displeased with the outcome of your treatment does not mean that the healthcare professional committed malpractice. You need to demonstrate that another medical provider, under similar circumstances, would not have caused you harm.
- Third, you need to show that the medical provider’s negligence actually caused your injury or illness. It’s possible that the medical provider was negligent but that their careless actions did not directly cause your injury or illness. You (or your attorney) might want to hire a medical expert to give a statement or testify on your behalf that your medical provider more than likely caused you harm.
- Lastly, you must show that you suffered compensable damages. You can’t bring a medical malpractice claim if you didn’t suffer any real harm. Compensable damages include financial losses (medical expenses required to treat your injuries) and non-financial losses (pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional trauma).
Proving every element of a malpractice claim can be challenging. A seasoned Virginia medical malpractice lawyer can help you identify the at-fault party and build a strong case that stands up to scrutiny.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
Some common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose an illness or injury
- Misdiagnosing an illness or injury
- Failure to properly treat a condition
- Surgical errors
- Administering the wrong treatment
- Pharmaceutical errors
- Failure to inform a patient of the risks associated with a certain course of treatment and get their consent
While medical malpractice cases often involve physicians, any healthcare provider can commit malpractice through negligence. This includes surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other hospital staff members. In some cases, if the individual who committed malpractice is an employee of a facility (as opposed to an independent contractor), the facility may be responsible for damages through vicarious liability.
Contact Us Today
Medical errors can create serious and lasting trauma for individuals they hurt. We understand what you are going through, and we can seek justice on your behalf. If you were harmed due to an act of medical negligence, contact an experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice attorney at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation.