When a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider makes a mistake, it is only natural that you are upset and want answers.  One of the most common questions following any medical mistake is “do I have a medical negligence claim?” While most medical errors cause distress and raise concerns, not all of them are considered an act of negligence or malpractice.

Let’s explore what medical negligence is, how it factors into medical malpractice lawsuits, and what you can do to find answers and ensure your legal rights are upheld.

What is Medical Negligence?

The term medical negligence refers to one of the most important aspects of a medical malpractice lawsuit – the breach of medical standards of care.  Sometimes, medical malpractice and negligence are used interchangeably, but medical negligence can be viewed more specifically.  Some of the most common examples of medical negligence include:

  • Diagnostic errors or misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis or treatment
  • Improper administration of treatment
  • Administering the wrong treatment
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors (prescribing the wrong drug or dose, failure to review allergies, etc.)
  • Birth Injuries

In sum, medical negligence are errors that most often could be avoided with proper attention, skill, training, communication, or attention to the details of the patient’s case.

Do I have a Medical Negligence Claim?

Now that we know what medical negligence is, it is important to understand how it relates to medical malpractice lawsuits.  Consider the following elements of a medical malpractice lawsuit:

  • A doctor-patient relationship is established
  • The provision of care (diagnosis, treatment, or a failure to treat) falls below the medical standards of care
  • There is a clear causal connection between the medical negligence (act or omission) and the harm suffered by the patient
  • The harm is quantified as damages (lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.)

Determining whether a medical error is an honest mistake or malpractice often hinges on proving medical negligence.  To do so, the patient/victim must do the following:

  • Establish the appropriate standard of care that would apply to the patient’s diagnosis and treatment. This is done via expert witness testimony and is based on what a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would or should respond in a similar circumstance.
  • Show in detail how the healthcare provider fell below the medical standards. Again, this is most often accomplished with the help of expert witnesses.

If, upon extensive and detailed review, it is determined that the healthcare provider acted within his or her duty of care and did not fall short of the medical standards of care, then you may not have a claim of medical negligence.  However, if this review proves that the healthcare provider did breach his or her duty of care, and fell short of the medical standards, then you may be able to pursue damages under a medical negligence or malpractice claim.

The best way to determine if you have a medical negligence claim is to speak with a medical malpractice attorney about your situation.  Contact Brown & Brothers today to speak with one of our medical malpractice attorneys about your case.

Proving Your Medical Negligence Case

As mentioned before, the vital element of a successful medical malpractice lawsuit is proving that a healthcare provider’s negligence caused you harm.  This is one of the more complex elements of any personal injury case.  To prove your medical negligence case, it can be helpful to remember the following:

  • Keep, or obtain, copies of all medical records, including:
    • Diagnoses
    • Treatment
    • Visit Summaries
    • Laboratory Results
    • Radiology Results
  • Keep copies of any communications between you and your healthcare provider, and his or her office staff.
  • Take photographs of your injuries as soon as possible, and document visible changes before or after treatment.
  • Make copies of any communications between you and your insurance companies. Never agree to any settlement without talking to your attorney first.
  • Keep copies of any billing statements, invoices, or payments you have made related to your care.
  • Remember that there is a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims. That means that there is a time limit, and if you do not file a claim within that period of time, you may be unable to pursue recovery for the harm you suffered.

Providing your attorney with information is an important step in proving your medical negligence case.  Because the burden of proof falls on you, the more information you have, the better!

Personalized Legal Guidance for Medical Negligence Claims

Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex, and it is always advisable to talk to an attorney before attempting to file a lawsuit on your own.  As this article suggests, proving medical negligence requires knowledge, documentation, and time.  At Brown & Brothers, we have the resources you need to move forward with confidence that your case is in good hands.

To learn more about medical malpractice laws, or to get personalized legal guidance for your individual situation, fill out our online form, or call us toll free at 1-877-743-6874. 

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