The Basics of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a legal cause of action that occurs when a medical or health care professional deviates from standards in his or her profession, thereby causing injury to a patient. In common law jurisdictions, medical malpractice liability is normally based on the laws of negligence.

As laws vary by jurisdiction, the specific professionals who may be targeted by a medical malpractice action will vary depending upon where the action is filed. Among professionals that may be potentially liable under medical malpractice laws are,

  • Medical Practitioners – including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists and dentists.
  • Nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
  • Allied health professionals – including physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, podiatrists, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, pharmacists, optometrists, midwives, and medical radiation practitioners.

Among the acts or omissions that may potentially support a medical malpractice claim are the failure to properly diagnose a disease or medical condition, the failure to provide appropriate treatment for a medical condition, and unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed medical condition. In some jurisdictions a medical malpractice action may be allowed even without a mistake from the doctor, based upon principles of informed consent, where a patient was not informed of possible consequences of a course of treatment and would have declined the medical treatment had proper information been provided in advance.

Medical malpractice happens when a patient is harmed or suffers as a result of negligence from the doctor. Although it rarely happens, sometimes you could be a victim. There are rules on when you can report medical malpractice and when you can file for a lawsuit.

In order to file a lawsuit, you need to prove:

A doctor-patient relationship existed

This basically means that you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed on the same. It is impossible to sue a doctor that you don’t have any direct working relationship with. It is always going to be easy to prove the existence of a physician-patient relationship when the doctor begins treating you. The question may arise if the physician was not directly involved in the treatment process but a good attorney will know how to circumnavigate the challenge.

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The Doctor Negligent

You can’t sue the doctor because you don’t agree. You should be able to prove beyond doubt that the doctor was negligent when it came to diagnosis and treatment of the condition. In order to effectively sue, you should also be able to show that the doctor caused harm given the treatment and no any other doctor would have done so in the same circumstances.

At Shaffer Law, our West Virginia attorney can help get you the compensation you deserve. Focus on your recovery while we focus on the rest.

The Negligence caused the Injury

There could a myriad of reasons how you got the injury but you should prove that it was a result of the malpractice. The onus is on the patient to prove that the injury was caused as a result of incompetence from the doctor.

If you or a loved one believe you are the victim of medical malpractice give Shaffer Law a call today for a free consultation.



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