When a person seeks medical treatment they expect a high level of professionalism, care, and protection from their physician. When that trust is broken and patients are injured they have a right to compensation. Below are some common questions clients ask when they have been hurt or injured by a healthcare worker.
How do you prove medical malpractice?
One of the first things you have to prove in a medical malpractice case is that there was an established doctor-patient relationship with the doctor being sued. This means that you must prove that you hired the doctor to treat you, and are not suing based on advice they gave In a context outside of an established doctor-patient relationship, such as at a party.
Secondly, you will have to prove that the doctor was negligent in treating you or diagnosing you. This does not merely mean that you were dissatisfied with your treatment. For example, if a plastic surgeon is not able to create a certain look for a patient because of the limitations of their body, the patient cannot sue the plastic surgeon for malpractice. The doctor was doing their best not to cause any harm to the patient, whose main interest is in how they look. But if that same plastic surgeon was negligent and caused injury where there was none, then that patient can sue for malpractice. Keep in mind that all doctors, including dentists and specialists, can be sued for medical malpractice.
You also need to prove that the injury led to very specific damages and that another doctor under the same circumstances would have made better decisions for your health. Doctors are expected to show competence in every action they take. There are many types of physical suffering that you can sue for such as:
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Emotional distress and anguish
- Medical bills to treat the injury
- Loss of income
What exactly are damages?
Damages are what you are paid in compensation for expenses related to your medical malpractice injury and your pain and suffering. Damages are typically one of two types: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are those in which a concrete number can be assigned to them based on the calculation of all of your expenses. Additional medical treatments to address the injury caused by the malpractice, related medical bills, and any therapeutic treatments you will need throughout the rest of your life, if applicable, are all considered economic damages. Economic damages also include the time missed from work due to your injury and the loss of income from your continued inability to work. If there are other expenses related to your treatment, such as expensive medications, then you want to speak to your medical malpractice attorney about including those when you file your claim.
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are those which cannot be calculated or even detected easily. These include pain and suffering, psychological disturbances, emotional distress and anguish, and marital difficulties resulting from the stress of the injury on the relationship. Because these don’t have an associated dollar figure, the judge may have to assign a value. The more you suffered, the more likely you are to receive higher compensation. Family members, colleagues, and others can serve as witnesses to express how your life has been much more difficult since the injury.
Who can be sued for medical malpractice?
You may be surprised to learn that doctors are not the only people who can be sued for medical malpractice. When you are being treated at a hospital or a clinic, including a medi-clinic, then you can suffer at the hands of any of the clinicians or healthcare workers that come in contact with you. The different people you can sue for medical malpractice include:
- Pharmacists and pharmacy techs
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Physicians assistants
- Nurse practitioners
- Medical students
Can any lawyer represent me? What should I look for in an attorney for my medical malpractice case?
Your attorney should have years of experience specifically in medical negligence and malpractice. This is someone that you want to be sure you get along with and can open up to because you’re going to be describing very intimate details about your injury with them. Your attorney will be your guide when you have to go to court, which many clients find extremely intimidating unless they are represented by someone they trust. Fortunately, our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys at Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky have experience in successfully helping our clients to win the damages they deserve.
While some attorneys are general practice attorneys who take on a variety of cases, with medical malpractice, you want an attorney who specifically practices in this area and has years of experience. Our personal injury attorneys are also members of the following prestigious associations:
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Allegheny County Bar Association
- Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County
- Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association
- Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association
Give us a call today and tell us about your situation. We are ready to listen to you.