Every one of us has relied on a medical professional at least a few times in our lives. When we get seriously ill, or suffer a serious injury, we put our health in the hands of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, fully expecting to be treated with a certain degree of professionalism and safety. Unfortunately, sometimes the expected care is not given, or not given to the extent which the ailment requires. In these situations, we can feel blindsided, confused, even taken advantage of.
One of the problems with malpractice is that sometimes we have a hard time recognizing it. We may not know what exactly constitutes medical malpractice, or what qualifies as medical malpractice. Even worse, we often don’t know what our course of action should be if we do experience malpractice. The first step you should follow after being the victim of medical malpractice is to seek medical attention from a competent physician. Additionally, you may want to discuss your case with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney.
Was I the Victim of Medical Malpractice?
Broadly speaking, malpractice is the failure of a medical professional to fulfill his or her obligation to treat you properly. Unlike other personal injury claims, the juries and judges in malpractice cases must look at the standards set for reasonable medical care. While personal injury cases are based on the responsibilities of a normal person, malpractice cases are based on the responsibilities of a healthcare professional.
In these cases, a few questions must be answered by the jury, such as:
- Did the professional behave in a way that is consistent with his or her training and specialization?
- How did the professional’s care compare to the standards of care in the area?
- What type of equipment was available?
- Was the physician’s care noticeably negligent?
- How does the physician’s care compare to the testimony given by other medical professionals brought in for expert testimony?
To ascertain the last point, other doctors and physicians may be brought in to testify about the standards in their field, and how the defendant doctor’s care stacked up against these standards. If you believe you have not received the care you deserved, you may want to discuss your case with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney to learn your best legal course of action.
Establishing Malpractice Claims
To prove that injury has been committed, a case has to have certain elements. Malpractice claims are no different. The criteria of a malpractice case are similar to those in a regular personal injury claim, although more specialized. A Philadelphia personal injury attorney can help you determine if your case meets the following requirements:
- The doctor had a duty to treat the patient. This legal duty is established if the healthcare provider agrees to treat the patient. This must be established, as a doctor providing emergency care in a public place may not be guilty of malpractice.
- This duty was then breached. Either care was not administered, or it was ministered improperly. The quality of the care is established through the testimony of expert testimony from other doctors.
- The breach of the duty caused injury.
- The injury caused either financial or physical damages.
If these four criteria are met, malpractice has occurred, and you have a right to sue for damages. A Philadelphia personal injury attorney can help you decide if your case meets these requirements.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the doctor may not be the only one who can be held liable for your injuries. The hospital or the doctor’s private practice may also be at fault for not providing the level of care which they are required to give. If your injury was a result of care provided by nurses or orderlies, the doctor is held liable, as the assistants are carrying out his or her orders.