The Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution and other federal and state laws give you the right to file a civil lawsuit if you suffer harm as the result of negligent care from a doctor or other medical provider. The First Amendment also gives you the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
In other words, you have the right to sue if you are injured by a doctor or other medical provider and suffer as a result.
Of course, you must meet all the elements of a medical malpractice claim to file this kind of lawsuit.
What Are the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim?
To file a lawsuit against the doctor who injured you, also known as a medical malpractice claim, you must show the following elements:
- A doctor-patient relationship (the doctor owed you a duty of care)
- Your doctor’s failure to meet the standard of care (the doctor breached that duty)
- Resulting injuries (the doctor’s breach caused your injuries)
- Resulting damages (economic and non-economic effects of your injuries)
- Another doctor is critical of the doctor you are alleging was negligent
Keep in mind that the standard of care may vary based on the setting. To adhere to the standard of care, medical professionals must provide that level of medical care that any reasonable physician in substantially the same circumstances would provide. For this reason, a doctor providing life-saving care in the emergency room would be held to different standards than a doctor performing preventative care during an annual exam.
Reasons for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Any serious injury can justify a medical malpractice lawsuit. Some of the most common medical errors that cause injuries and inspire medical malpractice lawsuits include:
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose
- Problems with testing (not ordering tests, misreading or ignoring test results, films/imaging etc.)
- Disregard of a patient’s medical history
- Improper treatment or failure to treat
- Unnecessary surgery or invasive procedure
- Lack of informed consent (not warning a patient of known risks)
- Birth injuries (preventable injuries to mother or child before, during, or after birth)
- Failure to timely call for a Cesarean Section/C Section which can result in, for e.g., Cerebral Palsy
- Medication errors (wrong medication or dose)
- Surgical errors (surgery on the wrong patient or body part, retained surgical instruments, etc.)
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to prevent or timely treat infection
- Dangerous conditions at a hospital or nursing home
- Premature discharge
- Poor follow-up care
When doctors make mistakes that cause harm, you have the right to hold them accountable.
Do I Sue the Doctor or the Hospital?
In most cases, you will sue the doctor who harmed you directly because most doctors have private practices or work as independent contractors. Sometimes, however, the medical professional who harms you is a hospital employee, or you were harmed by the hospital’s negligence. Other times, there may be shared responsibility, or it may be unknown which professional is liable.
Discussing your case with an attorney can help you determine which party (or parties) to sue.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you have a permanent injury that you believe resulted from a medical provider’s failure to meet the required standard of care, you should definitely at least consult a lawyer. You can consult (meet with or have a detailed phone consult) with Brett Oppenheimer at no cost and without being obligated in any way.
Hiring an experienced medical malpractice attorney can increase your chances of success, and your lawyer can help you compile evidence, deal with insurance companies, handle paperwork, and navigate all the special requirements for medical malpractice cases.
At Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC, we have been fighting for victims of medical malpractice since 1991, and we have recovered more than $100 million for our clients.
Our firm proudly offers free consultations, and we do not recover any legal fees unless you win your case.
To protect your rights and best interests, please call us at (502) 242-8877 or schedule your free consultation online today.