Although medical malpractice is technically a form of personal injury case, they are often considered in a category all their own. This is due to numerous unique requirements for even the most basic of medical malpractice claims that are not seen in any other type of injury lawsuit. Being able to understand these primary dissimilarities is the first step in improving a case’s potential and your own chance of winning a fair settlement after your doctor has caused you to suffer undue harm, complications, or debilitation.
Four basic requirements for a medical malpractice case are:
- Doctor-patient relationship: You need to be an established patient for a particular physician before you can sue them for medical malpractice. If you never hired the doctor or the doctor did not agree to be hired, you might not have the grounds to sue them, not easily at least. This means that consulting physicians that merely give advice to you or another doctor are difficult to sue; the same can be said of emergency medical responders and ER surgeons, who never know what patient they will be helping until they are.
- Negligence: Most people will be unhappy with their medical treatment at some point or another. But dissatisfaction with your physician doesn’t automatically mean that you can sue them. You will have to prove that your doctor was negligent in their treatment or diagnosis. In most cases, it is considered negligence if your doctor deviated from accepted norms or failed where another skilled physician would have succeeded, within reason.
- Causation: The majority of patients who see a doctor are already suffering from some sort of illness or injury. A medical malpractice case will need to be based on the groundwork that the negligence of a doctor caused some sort of harm that was separate from the damage already being done by the preexisting injury or illness. An expert witness’s testimony may be necessary to prove the connection between a negligent act and the resulting harm.
- Damages: If you have established that a doctor was your trusted physician, they did something wrong, and that that act caused you injury, the last thing you need to know for a medical malpractice case is what sort of damage you suffered as a direct result of that wrongdoing. A doctor could make every mistake in the book and never pay a dime if it couldn’t be proved that real damages arose.
Putting the Pieces Together
Knowing the basic outline of a medical malpractice case is a step in the right direction, but it is only the beginning. You will need to be able to construct everything you know about your claim into a viable lawsuit. To get the help you require with this intricate process, contact Matzus Law LLC. Our Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorney has been championing the good fight for injured and mistreated patients for more than 20 years. Request your free consultation today to begin.