What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice
Did you know that the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical malpractice, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association? That means that the only factors that kill more Americans than medical mistakes are heart disease and cancer.
Studies estimate that between 210,000 and 420,000 people die in this country each year due to medical errors.
Medical malpractice does not always lead to death, of course. In many cases, medical malpractice leads to injury – either mild, moderate or severe and life-altering. The suffering that a patient goes through due to being a victim of a medical error can occur on many levels. Physical suffering, emotional suffering and financial losses can all afflict someone who has been the victim of medical malpractice.[youtube]http://youtu.be/2Qid_wU5zc4[/youtube]
Medical Malpractice – The Four Elements of Negligence
In our legal system, there are four elements that are necessary to prove when talking about medical malpractice: duty, breach, injury and damages. We will explain each element here.
In the relationship between a patient and a health care provider, a duty is legally owed to the patient. This duty is to act as other health care providers would in a similar position, and to follow accepted norms of medical care as established by the medical community.
After duty has been established, if the health care provider fails to exercise reasonable care and treat the patient as peers in their field would, then this duty is considered to have been breached.
Injury to the patient must have occurred from the health care provider’s breach of duty.
The patient must suffer damages, either economic (such as loss of income) or non-economic (such as emotional stress), due to the injury that was sustained.
It is important to note that damages can occur even if no medical malpractice has occurred, as bad medical outcomes are sometimes unavoidable (such as when a person dies from a fatal disease). A negative result does not necessarily mean that you were the victim of medical malpractice or negligence.
What is “Gross Negligence”?
Gross Negligence occurs when the breach of duty by a health care provider is egregious and obvious. For example, if a patient underwent a mastectomy for removal of the left breast and found out after surgery that the incorrect breast had been removed. This would constitute Gross Negligence.
Is there a statute of limitations (time limit) on how long I have to bring a lawsuit against my doctor or hospital?
There is a limited time within which a medical malpractice suit may be filed. In the State of Michigan this time limit is usually 2 years.
What do I do if I think I might be the victim of medical malpractice? What if I’m not sure?
Even if you are unsure, if you think that you might be the victim of medical malpractice, you should contact a qualified malpractice law firm, such as Turner & Turner, to evaluate your case. We will be able to tell you if, indeed, it seems as if you have been the victim of medical malpractice and if bringing a lawsuit is advisable. Due to the statute of limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits, you should contact a lawyer immediately.
Now It’s Your Turn for Specialized Representation
It is very important that your attorney has extensive experience in medical malpractice cases. Since these cases are often the most complicated, it is also very important that you maintain detailed records and documentation of the events as they occur. Medical malpractice law is a highly technical, specialized field. If your case is very technical, you will need an appropriately specialized lawyer. If you feel you or a loved one have been injured due to a doctor’s malpractice, turn to Turner & Turner to protect your rights.
Call 1-888-8TURNER or complete our confidential, online contact form to receive a free case review.