Mistakes made in a medical setting are one of the top five causes of deaths in the United States. And according to Julian Lewis Sanders, personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, a medical malpractice claim exists when you are able to prove that negligence in a clinical setting resulted in harm to the patient. Essentially, a medical malpractice case aims to investigate whether, had a patient been given adequate care, the results would have fared better.
You may not realize it, but medical malpractice cases are much more common than you might think; roughly half of all doctors will face a medical malpractice case at least once over the course of their career. And you’ll also have to consider the many doctors that made critical mistakes that were never taken to court. With that in mind, here are a few things you should know about medical malpractice:
Different Types of Medical Malpractice
There are several different types of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis are among the more common types, but medication mistakes and surgical errors are also common types of medical malpractice.
A missed diagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to recognize any issue at all, giving the patient the okay to walk out with the impression that they have a clean bill of health. For instance, a woman might be told that a lump on her breast is benign when it’s in fact malignant.
A misdiagnosis, on the other hand, is when the doctor provides the patient with the wrong diagnosis. For instance, your doctor might diagnose a patient with the flu, saying there’s nothing they can do, and that patient turns out to have Lyme disease. Take a look at this list of common misdiagnosis ailments.
If you’re ever in a situation where you aren’t feeling better after a doctor prescribes you with a treatment, or if you continue to experience symptoms after you’ve been told nothing is wrong, it’s best that you explore further and get a second opinion.
It Can Lead to Wrongful Death
Another type of medical malpractice deserves its own category—wrongful death. Unfortunately, roughly 10% of deaths are a direct result of medical malpractice. A wrongful death claim allows the individual who was close to the deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who was negligent.
For instance, in an anesthesia malpractice case, the patient may have died because too much anesthesia was administered. Everyone is different, so the amount of acceptable anesthesia for one person isn’t the same for the next, and it’s up to the medical team on site to analyze a patient’s medical history and specific needs.
Wrongful death claims aren’t just reserved for family members or significant others—anyone who has been hurt financially due to the death of someone can make a case. Furthermore, wrongful death lawsuits aren’t just reserved for medical practitioners; anyone at fault is at risk for facing a wrongful death conviction.
Medical Malpractice Cases Take a While
If you plan on suing for medical malpractice, understand that this isn’t an overnight process. Any lawsuit in the medical space can take years to settle. After all, this type of case takes careful investigation and often involves maneuvering through plenty of redtape and administrative processes. The investigation process alone can take several months or even years, and your lawyer will need paperwork, bills, receipts, notes, and more to learn as much as they can about your particular case. A medical expert will also need adequate time to weigh in and offer valuable input on whether your case will hold up in court.
Contact a Lawyer Immediately
If you believe you have a malpractice case on your hands, reach out to a lawyer immediately. The fact is, the minute you find out about the potential for a case, the clock starts ticking. Many individuals never end up reporting viable cases because they’ve been “gaslighted” by the doctor, convinced they had some due part in the negative consequences or that the doctor(s) are absolved of any responsibility. Furthermore, patients also feel weak and powerless after they’ve filled out plenty of paperwork. The truth is, no matter what dotted lines you’ve signed, you may have a strong case on your hands.