For many people, hospitals can be ominous and fear-inducing places — especially if you’ve heard anecdotes from people who have had particularly bad experiences with doctors. In hospitals, when time and information are so important to outcomes, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Doctors hold people’s lives in their hands every day, and if they’re off their game or slip up when working with a patient, someone may have to pay the price.
If you think your doctor was responsible for some pain and suffering on your end after treatment, you may be able to make a malpractice case against them. However, you should make sure you have a good case before you invest the time and effort into a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Filing Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice occurs when your doctor’s actions (or lack thereof) are the direct cause of your injury. However, their decisions must have gone against common wisdom or accepted best practices of the medical community for you to have a case. These situations can be anything from diagnostic errors to mistakes during surgery and anything in between.
There are specific criteria your case must meet to be considered medical malpractice. In order to file a lawsuit against a medical professional, they need to be your personal doctor, and they must have violated their professional duty to you. These circumstances must have led to pain and suffering on your part for you to have a case against them.
Although negligence is a huge aspect of a medical malpractice case, there are a few other circumstances that need to apply to your situation. A statute of limitations exists for medical malpractice cases, and that time frame depends on the type of claim you’re making.
Usually, the statute of limitations is anywhere from one to 10 years, depending on the state where you live. However, because the discovery of medical malpractice may be delayed, the time frame may start at the time you find out a medical error. In order to have a chance at winning a medical malpractice lawsuit, it’s best to consult a lawyer and start filing your case as soon as you realize your doctor is at fault.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be an uncomfortable process. You may believe that your doctor did not intend to harm you and that it was an honest mistake, and you may not want to get them in trouble. However, if a doctor commits a fault that is severe enough for you to undergo severe financial or physical hardships, it’s best to follow through with it. Some doctors may need a wake-up call in the form of a lawsuit to prevent them from making mistakes with other patients in the future. If your doctor’s actions resulted in additional surgeries, medical visits, or medications for you, a lawsuit could help you pay off the medical bills that you accumulated during this time.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can occur when doctors don’t follow the laws mandated for them in order to protect patients. Although the guidelines may not always seem practical, they are there to control the amount of power medical professionals have in their hands as they handle your most personal and private information. This is also why doctors can’t treat patients with medications or procedures that haven’t been approved by the FDA, no matter how much the doctor and/or patient may want the treatment.
Without waiting until the FDA has approved treatments, a doctor may be subjecting their patient to risky medical procedures that haven’t gone through enough trials to be reliable. To avoid putting the doctor at risk for malpractice and harming the patient, the FDA places strict regulations on doctors.
Before certain treatment methods are approved by the FDA, they must go through several trial stages to be proven successful. One experimental medical area of treatment involves the use of stem cell therapy to treat various diseases. The FDA has only approved the use of stem cells for a couple of different treatments, including the stem cell extraction from bone marrow to aid in cancer therapies, and cord blood cell extractions for blood-related disorders.
However, stem cell research has long been considered a highly innovative area of medicine, which has caused various companies to offer stem cell therapy services. These types of experimental procedures could harm a patient and, if conducted by a medical professional, could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Although there are very clear guidelines from the FDA about what doctors can and can’t do, these lines can become blurred for doctors who find themselves trying to save a patient’s life. Medical malpractice lawsuits are not uncommon, but they are necessary at times to help patients get their lives back on track after thousands of dollars of medical bills.
Medical debt can quickly get out of control, and it affects many areas of a person’s life, including their ability to finance their day-to-day life. Without a medical malpractice lawsuit to fix the financial problems caused by a doctor’s negligence, a patient could see their credit score plummet, lose their income, and even be at risk of losing their home.
Unfortunately, successful medical malpractice claims may not even be able to cover all of the related expenses. Because there is a cap on such claims in many states, there is a chance that particularly egregious cases may lead to severe financial hardship for those affected. While there have been pushes for medical malpractice reform, they have seen some serious legislative hurdles. Be sure to research state law on your particular case, especially in regards to any potential caps.
It’s important for doctors to be held accountable for their actions; the consequences caused by them can be fatal. Doctors are aware that they run the risk of a medical malpractice lawsuit if they are at fault for a patient’s health, and if you have a case against them, it may be for the best to pursue it.
Author Info: Noah Rue is a writer, a digital nomad, and a graduate of the lessons of life (primary) and also the University of Idaho. These days, Noah teaches English as a second language in lovely Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and moonlights as a content strategist for an American based marketing company.