Personal Injury Lawyer
Based on a John Hopkins study in 2016, medical errors are now the third-ranked leading cause of death in the United States. Researchers determined that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error. However, only 15,000 to 19,000 medical malpractice suits are filed annually in the U.S. If there are so many deaths and injuries due to medical mistakes, why do fewer than 10% of deaths involve medical malpractice claims?
Medical malpractice law is complex. The burden of proof is on the patient. Your malpractice lawsuit will come down to you and your lawyer attempting to prove that a doctor did not meet an appropriate standard of care. The doctor, medical facility, and its insurance may try to make the situation seem like it was a preventable accident or that it was your fault. Here are a few considerations as you decide whether to pursue a medical malpractice claim with help from a lawyer, similar to the team at Therman Law Offices, LTD.
Malpractice Requires a Lot of Proof
As a personal injury lawyer explains, for a medical malpractice claim to be successful, you must be able to prove all of the following:
- The relationship between doctor-patient existed. You must prove you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. For example, if you overheard advice at a restaurant, you cannot sue.
- Your doctor was negligent. The doctor’s behavior or inaction must have caused harm. Furthermore, it must be true that a competent doctor facing the same circumstances would not have caused this harm. You cannot sue just because you are unhappy with your treatment or its results.
- Your doctor’s negligence caused the injury. Treatment must have directly resulted in harm. There can be questions about this in cases when you are already sick or injured. For instance, if you sought medical help after a car accident, did the accident cause your injury or did the doctor cause the injury to get worse? Expert testimony may be used to prove the doctor’s negligence.
- You experienced damages. You must have sustained specific harm, such as mental anguish, physical pain, additional medical bills, and/or lost work.
Malpractice Has a Statute of Limitations
States have time limits on how long you have to file a medical malpractice claim, ranging from six months to two years. You must file the claim within the statute of limitations. Miss this deadline, and your case will be dismissed, regardless of the facts. The defense may claim that evidence has deteriorated with time.
Malpractice Claims Have Limits in Many States
More than half of the states in the U.S. have laws that limit the amount of money you can receive after a successful malpractice lawsuit. Legal costs are expensive, and depending on the limit in your state, you may decide that a malpractice suit is not worth it. Consider seeking the help of a medical malpractice lawyer to determine if filing a malpractice claim is right for your situation.