Medical malpractice occurs when a person sustains an injury due to the negligence or medical errors of doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and other medical professionals. In these scenarios, victims of medical negligence may opt to sue the hospital itself. In the United States, suing the hospital is made possible by the theory of vicarious liability which states that an employer (i.e., the hospital) may be held liable for its employees’ (i.e., health care professionals) negligence which has caused an individual pain and suffering, or in worst cases, wrongful death.
However, suing a hospital is not as simple as it seems even if the evidence of negligence is visibly glaring. To be fully informed of how to sue a medical institution properly, a plaintiff or a victim of a medical malpractice suit must have proper knowledge of malpractice cases. Plaintiffs must have a clear and thorough understanding of what medical malpractice is.
What is Medical Malpractice?
A medical malpractice suit requires to have the following characteristics for it to be valid in court:
Violation of Standard Care
A violation of the standard of care means that the lawfully acknowledged conduct and principles expected from a medical professional has been disregarded. If a medical professional has failed to perform the proper medical care that any other similarly trained medical professional would have done, then a standard of care violation has taken place.
For a claim to be valid, the victim must prove that his or her acquired injury was directly due to the negligence of a medical professional. It should be noted, however, that merely having an unsatisfying result does not constitute to medical malpractice.
Victims should have had incurred significant damages from the incident. They must show that substantial loss of income, disability, pain and suffering was experienced from the incident to make the case worth to be pursued.
Medical Malpractice Examples
To fully understand what medical malpractice is, below are some of its most common scenarios. These scenarios include but are not limited to the following:
Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
This scenario accounts for the largest percentage of medical error complaints. In this scenario, a patient was misdiagnosed or was not diagnosed immediately which then resulted in missed treatment opportunities that could have prevented significant harm or even death.
Errors in Medication
Errors in medication, based on a 2006 study, affect 1.5 million people in the United States per year. These mistakes may come in many forms such as being prescribed inappropriate medication or being mistakenly given medication meant for another patient. The most common case, however, is being prescribed with inaccurate dosages of medication. These errors may result in worsening current conditions or additional injury.
Errors in Surgery
Victims may have experienced severe or mundane acts of negligence which can range from internal organs being carelessly damaged or surgical instruments being left inside the body which can lead to complications. Furthermore, a victim’s immediate recovery after an operation may also be negligently mishandled which can lead to further and unwanted infections.
Errors in Applying Anesthesia
A patient’s medical history must first be researched to avoid risks of complication before administering anesthesia. Common anesthesia errors include using defective anesthetic equipment as well as administering significantly more anesthesia than needed. Any mistakes in the anesthesia administration can lead to severe consequences such as brain damage and are more dangerous than errors during surgery.
How to Can you Sue a Hospital?
Despite being difficult and tedious, pursuing a malpractice suit is always the best course of action for victims. Given the pain and suffering caused by hospital staff negligence, seeking justice is always the right thing to do.
It is crucial to note that victims of medical malpractice or their loved ones to act as fast as possible in filing a malpractice claim. Victims must act quickly since every complaint is bound by its statute of limitations which varies in each state. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in California is one year. These limitations mean that cases may be filed either within the year of the date of which the incident took place or the date of which the victim became aware that his or her injury was due to medical malpractice.
Seek Legal Advice
Upon filing a complaint, the next best thing to do is to consult with professionals with proper legal knowledge such as personal injury attorneys. Filing and trying to win a medical malpractice claim is a complex process that requires expert legal minds. Thus, in a malpractice suit, seeking legal advice or employing a medical malpractice lawyer will increase the chances of successfully winning your claim.
Is the Hospital at Fault?
Another critical thing to consider is the possibility of the hospital not being liable for the medical malpractice committed. Even if the incident occurred in the hospital, if the medical professional that has performed the malpractice is an independent contractor, then the hospital is typically absolved of responsibility.
Gather All Documents
Obtaining all the information about your medical history is necessary. Documents such as medical records, incident reports, photos, and more should be collated to build a strong case.
Victims can claim damages such as past and future healthcare expenses, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering for medical malpractice claims. With proper legal advice, victims can come up with a computation of all total damages.
Filing a Complaint
The negligent standard of healthcare that was provided as well as its corresponding injuries or complications should be included in a victim’s official complaint. It should also cover the victim’s claims and its corresponding damages.
Filing a Complaint with Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Filing a malpractice suit is best done with expert legal minds backing you up with your medical malpractice claims. California malpractice cases require vast and expert personal injury law knowledge and handling these types of cases on your own may end up serving you more harm than good. Seek legal advice from expert medical malpractice law firms who are well-versed in California medical malpractice laws to know what you are up against.
Mesriani Law Group has decades of experience in personal injury law to take on and win medical malpractice suits for their clients. Having already won over 100 million dollars in damages for their clients, attorneys well-versed in California medical malpractice cases will be on your side.