When we seek the help of doctors and medical professionals, we expect them to treat us in accordance to an acceptable standard of care that any medical professional would provide in the same situation. This expectation is fully warranted, as physicians, nurses, and other health care providers have a legal duty to take reasonable measures that reduce risks of preventable harm. When health care providers fail to uphold their legal obligation and patients are injured as a result, they can be held liable for the damages victims suffer.
At Stern Law Group, our personal injury lawyers have helped thousands of clients across the state recover hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for their losses, including the costs of medical care, lost work earnings, emotional injuries, and their pain and suffering. Because our team draws from over 150 years of combined experience, we are able to handle even the most challenging cases, including those involving medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice cases are no easy matter, and they are often contested aggressively by health care providers and insurers. If you or someone you love has been injured while seeking medical treatment or undergoing a medical procedure, it is important to know that just because you were hurt, does not necessarily mean you have a valid claim. Some risks are inherent to any medical endeavor. However, when a medical professional’s substandard car, negligence, or careless acts result in your injury, you might have a case for compensation.
As with any negligence case, there are a few essential elements in medical malpractice claims that will determine whether or not a patient and / or their loved ones are eligible to pursue legal action. These elements include:
- A legal duty existed – The first and most important element to establish in a medical malpractice case is that a legal duty existed. Medical professionals have a legal duty to provide acceptable care whenever they treat a patient, which means that a duty exists if there is a doctor-patient relationship, of if you are being treated and cared for by nurses or other support staff. If you overhear medical advice being given by a doctor to another patient and are injured as a result of following that advice, you wouldn’t be entitled to compensation because there was no duty for the doctor to treat you.
- The legal duty was breached – When a medical professional fails to uphold their obligation and provides substandard care, they are negligent and they breach their legal duty. Breach of duty is a crucial element in medical malpractice claims, and it can occur in a number of ways, including medication errors, failures to diagnose or misdiagnoses, errors during surgery, and more.
- The breach of duty caused you harm – Also known as causation, this element requires an injured patient to prove that a medical professional’s negligence and substandard care caused them harm. In civil cases, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, which means that you need to show a health care provider’s breach of duty “more likely than not” led to your injuries in order to prove causation.
- You suffered damages – Finally, you must show that as a result of your injuries, you suffered damages for which you should be compensated. Damages can range from case to case, but they often include medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional injuries sustained by victims and families, and the future needs of having to deal or pay for expenses related to an injury, among others.
Because medical malpractice cases entail a great deal of medical terminology and details, and because health care companies and insurers leverage great resources to fight claims of negligence, these cases can be extremely complex. Our team not only pools our experience and resources when representing victims of medical malpractice, but also works closely with the appropriate experts to assist us in illustrating all essential elements of a claim and helping injured patients and families recover what they rightfully deserve. Our firm is also available to assist families in pursuing wrongful death claims after losing loved ones in fatal medical malpractice incidents.
If you or someone you love believes you may have a case involving medical malpractice or birth injuries, Stern Law Group is here to help. By reaching out to our team, you can speak personally with a lawyer who can help explain your rights and whether we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation. To get started, contact us for a free consultation.