Medical malpractice is one of the most difficult types of personal injury law to prove, and one of the most misunderstood.
The complexity of medical procedures, known risks, varying health issues in victims, and many other factors make it a challenging type of case to pursue. Before embarking on a journey to build a lawsuit against a medical professional, it is important to know whether you have a legitimate case. Often, people believe because they had complications during a surgery or other issues, they have a medical malpractice case. However, there is more to this complex area of law than just proof of an injury – there must be proof of an error and other components as well. Here are some of the key elements that accompany a successful medical malpractice case.
You Have an Established Patient History
If you have been injured and believe it is due to a medical error, your lawyers will need to prove you were indeed a patient of the medical professional that is accused. This may sound simple, but it is a necessary component. The term “duty of care” is used in medical malpractice cases, which refers to the contract between the medical professional and the patient. It means the professional will provide the patient with reasonable care for the patient’s circumstances. There must be proof you were a patient of the medical professional to pursue a case against them for harm. If a person dies outside an emergency room, negligence may have occurred, but since the person was not yet a patient, it would be difficult to prove a medical malpractice case.
There Was a Breach of Duty
The backbone of any medical malpractice case is proving the medical professional breached applicable standards of medical care while providing treatment to the patient. If you have been injured, it must be proven that the injury was caused by a medical error. This can be many different types of errors, including not correctly diagnosing your condition, prescribing the wrong medication or treatment, giving you the wrong medication or dosage, allowing a surgical error, or other types of negligent behavior. There needs to be evidence that harm occurred due to the negligence of the medical professional.
It is important to note a poor outcome is not the same as a medical error. There are risks and complications that can occur with many medical treatments, but that does not necessarily mean they are errors.
There is Evident Cause and Effect
You can prove you were a patient and that a medical error occurred – but you still need to show the medical error is the cause of your injury. If you become violently ill after taking pills from a pharmacy, you need to show you became ill because they gave you the wrong medication. It is possible for you to get the wrong medication and become ill for some other reason. Your legal team must be able to prove the medical error is directly related to your injury or illness through medical experts and testimony.
You Have an Injury and Damages
If a medical error causes you to break out in a rash, but it goes away and there is no ongoing harm, it will be difficult to show any damages. It may have been uncomfortable for a short period of time, but it is not likely to warrant a medical malpractice case. The final step in building a medical malpractice case is showing you have been injured from a medical error and it has caused you harm. For example, if the rash turned into a full-blown allergic reaction and you needed to be admitted to the hospital, there is harm. You may have medical bills, time lost from work, and even long-term injuries from the event, giving you cause to sue for medical malpractice.
Find Out if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case
If you believe you may have a medical malpractice case that occurred in Louisiana, contact our team at Nelson & Hammons. We have been practicing medical malpractice law for over 30 years and have the experience you need to win your case. Call our office to find out if you have a medical malpractice case during a free consultation. We can help you get the money you deserve if you have been harmed due to a medical error.