Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to a recent report in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Medical malpractice refers to the negligent or careless actions of a healthcare provider or institution that cause harm to a patient. Examples of medical malpractice include prescription errors, misdiagnosis, surgical injury, and misuse of anesthesia. If you or your loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately. This is important because your medical malpractice lawyer will help you seek damages and if necessary, file a wrongful death claim on your behalf. At this point, it is also worth noting that malpractice lawyers also represent defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, your attorney would need to prove duty, breach, causation and damages. Duty is the obligation to act within the standard of care. This means that there has to be a doctor-patient relationship for this requirement to be met. Breach means that the physician or healthcare facility was guilty of ethics violations. Causation means proving your pain and suffering is a result of the negligent or careless actions of a caregiver or health facility. Damages are basically the financial expenses incurred as a result of a malpractice. Examples of such expanses include medical costs, loss of income and legal costs. Given the complex nature of medical malpractice lawsuits, you should also include expert testimony in your evidence. This is particularly important because the defense side is likely to produce their own expert witness in an attempt to discredit your claims.
Statute of Limitations
More importantly, you have to file your case within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies from state to state. It is worth noting that some states such as Florida, California, Alabama, Hawaii and Maryland determine the statutes of limitations based on the nature of the injury and the time the plaintiff discovered the injury. Overall, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice across states ranges from one to three years.
If you or your loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, you should seek compensation from the guilty party. To achieve this goal, you would need to hire experienced malpractice lawyers to represent you.