People trust doctors with their health. Whether dealing with the common cold or cancer, healthcare professionals are among the most well-equipped individuals to treat what ails you. Even the best doctors, though, can err in a way that jeopardizes people’s future well-being and, in some cases, lives.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional injuries a patient through negligence or omission. This action or lack of action can result in an improper diagnosis, care, medication, or management. Here are some real-world examples of medical malpractice:
- Failure to identify symptoms
- Improper medication
- Inadequate follow-up care and treatment
- Lack of consideration for patient history
- Lack of proper testing
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnosis
- Misinterpretation of lab reports
- Premature release from treatment
- Surgical errors, such as making an incision at the incorrect site
- Unnecessary surgery
Each one of these examples can compromise a patient’s health and prolong pain and suffering. Significant cases may even prevent them from returning to work or burden them with future medical bills. The gravity of these cases is why it is essential to hire a medical malpractice lawyer.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
The weight of a medical malpractice case hinges on the word “negligence.” While the ramification of negligence can vary by state, the law interprets the term to mean the failure of an individual to behave with a level of care that someone else of ordinary prudence would. Put another way—the negligent doctor did not do what a reasonable doctor practicing in his/her field would have done.
The case must also be “actionable” for a medical malpractice lawyer to take it to court. It must have specific components that make the lawsuit viable. Those components center around the existence of a duty of care.
A duty of care is a legal obligation a doctor owes to patients. It is an unwritten contract that the patient can expect a reasonable standard of care during treatment. Furthermore, they should not assume undue harm or risk.
Our medical malpractice lawyers will argue there is a breach in that duty of care. A successful argument requires providing the existence of the duty, its breach, and harm or damage that came as a direct result of the negligence.
We may also argue there was a proximate cause. This argument correlates the events of negligence with the patient’s outcomes when there is no immediate through-line. For instance, a patient experiencing weakness may get bloodwork that shows results consistent with leukemia.
The doctor may scan the bloodwork and determine that nothing is out of place. Therefore, they do not tell the patient to pursue treatment for leukemia. Several months later, the person develops leukemia. This negligence on behalf of the doctor does not have a direct relationship, though a medical malpractice lawyer could successfully argue it under proximate cause.
Beginning a Medical Malpractice Case
You don’t have to let medical malpractice ruin your life. Our team at Pickard Law in Littleton, CO, is here to help, regardless of how complex or challenging the case may be. It is our mission to hold parties responsible for their action and fairly compensate injured patients.
Hundreds of millions of Americans put their faith in healthcare professionals each year. There is an unspoken contract that patients can expect treatment that will improve their overall well-being. When doctors violate this pact, it is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
There are 195,000 deaths at hospitals each year that occur because of preventable medical errors. Equally concerning is the relatively small percentage of people that bring forth their claims to the legal system. Of course, medical malpractice does not have to result in death. It can include:
- Improper care or medication
- Inadequate follow-up care
- Inadequate testing
- Misdiagnosis/failure to diagnosis
- Misinterpreted of lab reports
- Premature discharge
- Surgical error
- Unnecessary surgery
According to one report, plaintiffs received more than $4 billion in medical malpractice lawsuits in 2018. The average claim was also $348,065, which represented more than a 16 percent spike from the previous year. At Pickard Law, we make sure medical malpractice plaintiffs receive the compensation they need and the justice they deserve.
Medical malpractice is more common than the average person believes. According to the Civil Justice Resource Group, there are upwards of 200,000 deaths each year because of this breach of duty. Perhaps equally concerning is that only 2.9 percent of victims ultimately file a claim.
At their most extreme, medical malpractice cases can be a matter of life or death. Your health influences your ability to work, travel, and move while living a life free of pain and discomfort. Medical malpractice can jeopardize all the above.
Did you know that 0.8 to 1.0 percent of hospital patients become victims of medical malpractice, and 4.8 percent of physicians are responsible for half of all malpractice claims? These incidents are unfortunately common due to a minority of ill-equipped doctors. Whether someone is dealing with the consequences of surgical errors or improper medication, the team at Pickard Law will be here to represent them.
Undergoing surgery is stressful enough. The unenviable addition of medical malpractice can make the situation a nightmare. When a care provider breaches the duty of care for their patients, they not only violate the standard of the medical community but also jeopardize the patient’s health and future.
Medical malpractice can have grave consequences. Even relatively small breaches, such as improper medication or dosage, can unnecessarily hinder or complicate post-care treatment. Other potential repercussions include:
- Increased living expenses
- Increased medical expenses
- Increased transportation expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of wages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical, mental, and emotional therapy
At Pickard Law, we understand the life-changing impacts medical malpractice can have. While regaining one’s health may not be possible, our team of medical malpractice attorneys will work to collect the compensation patients deserve. In Colorado, that might be up to $300,000 for non-economic damages, $1 million on total damages, and even more for lifetime injuries.