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Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Q: Do I have a medical malpractice claim?

A: If you’ve been wrongfully injured by a medical professional, you may have the means to seek compensation. Whether the fault lies with the doctor, nurse, or the facilities themselves, medical errors do occur and can result in serious emotional and physical harm. Read on to determine whether or not you have a claim.

Requirements for a Claim

In order to prove that medical malpractice occurred, you must be able to show the following:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed: Medical records can easily prove if you were seen and treated by a specific doctor. The doctor-patient relationship may be called into question if the doctor was a consulting physician who did not treat you directly.
  • Proof of the doctor’s negligence: You must be able to prove that your doctor made a breach in what other qualified specialists would classify as the medical standard of care. The doctor must have made an incompetent decision, or been unable to provide “reasonably skillful and careful” care. This means doctors needn’t be the best, but they must be competent. Most states require a medical expert witness to testify to the correct standard of care for the medical situation in question.
  • The doctor’s negligence caused the injury: The injury in question must have been directly caused by the doctor’s treatment, or lack thereof. The injuries must not have been caused by underlying medical issues or preexisting conditions, but must be a result of doctor negligence.
  • The injury led to specific damages: The harm caused by the doctor’s actions must be accounted for. Even if the doctor clearly made a mistake, they must have caused the patient physical or mental harm in order to warrant legal action. Damages can refer to physical pain, mental harm, or financial loss.