Is Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Viable?

Were you injured while under someone else's care, and now you're wondering if you have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit on your hands? If so, you'll definitely want to look for the following four elements before you decide to move forward

The Healthcare Provider Had A Duty Of Care

It's important that the healthcare provider that injured you had a duty to provide you with medical care. This means that there must be some sort of professional relationship between you and the provider in a healthcare setting. For example, if you were being treated by a doctor during a visit to a doctor's office or hospital.

The Duty Of Care Was Breached

A healthcare provider must provide you with care as any other healthcare provider would in the same position. Not providing that care would mean that the duty of care was breached in some way. There are many ways that this can happen in a healthcare setting, but two obvious ones are delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. This is when a healthcare provider fails to diagnose a condition that they should have caught. Other examples include surgical errors, prescribing the wrong medication, failure to follow up with a patient, and failure to monitor a patient. 

The Breached Duty Of Care Caused Harm

There must be a direct link between the way that the duty of care was breached and the harm being caused to the patient. Vague links between action and harm are not going to cut it, since it is on you to prove how the harm was caused. This can be hard to prove in various medical situations where it is not clear if there is a direct link. For example, did a doctor not following up with a patient directly cause harm, or would the harm have happened regardless of the follow-up? 

The Patient Suffered Damages

It's crucial that some sort of damage happened to justify a medical malpractice lawsuit. Having a doctor make a mistake is simply not enough, since you are suing for damages that were caused to you due to the mistake. A surgical error can result in needing a second surgery and quite clearly be medical malpractice, but a missed follow-up visit may only result in the patient being inconvenienced. 

You'll also want to confirm that the harm led to some sort of monetary damage that you are looking to recover. If the amount is small, such as one or two additional co-pays to visit another doctor, this may not be enough to justify a medical malpractice lawsuit.  

For more info, contact a local medical malpractice attorney