When people go to a physician, they are in many ways putting their lives into the hands of the medical professional. Most people have great faith that the doctor they are seeing will do everything possible to help in each particular case. They believe that their physicians will have had all the proper education needed to practice at the top of their field and that their care will be conflict free. This is sadly, often not the case. Many physicians cause great harm to their patients instead of helping them get better. This is usually due to acts of professional negligence or omission on the part of the doctor. When a severe injury of death occurs because of a medical professional’s negligence, the harmed party can sue on the grounds of medical malpractice to recovery any physical, mental or emotional injuries incurred.
The Steps of a Malpractice Case
In a malpractice suit, a number of people or establishments may be sued including:
o EMS workers
o Managed care organizations
o Medical corporations
Once the parties thought to be responsible for the injury or death are indicated and a case is brought against them, a number of steps must be taken in order to prove that medical malpractice took place. The elements of a malpractice case include proving that:
o A duty was owed-A legal duty exists as soon as a hospital or health care provider decides to take on the treatment of a patient.
o A duty was breached-it must be proved that the health care provider failed to conform to the relevant standard of care. This may be proved through various expert testimonies or by any obvious errors that speak for themselves.
o The breach cause4 an injury-the breach of duty the happened must be a direct cause of the damages incurred by the patient.
o Damages-there must be proof that the patient suffered physical, mental or emotional damages. Medical records, medical bills or therapy bills must be presented as proof.
If malpractice is proven, the patient may receive compensatory or punitive damages. Compensatory damages include financial losses such as lost wages, medical expense and future care expenses, physical and physiological harm and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are only awarded upon proving wanton and reckless conduct on the part of the defendant.