Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider fails to perform his or her duties as expected, and the result is death or injury of the patient. Standards for malpractice vary by country. Doctors are required to adhere to these standards; your signature on a waiver before a procedure does not relieve the doctor of his or her duties in this area. If your procedure results in injury, or you are misdiagnosed, you still maintain your legal rights.
Not every unfortunate outcome of a medical procedure can be considered a valid malpractice case, however, so it is important to consider the different factors which must be present in order to assess whether your case is valid.
There are four main elements of a medical malpractice case which must be present in order for the case to be brought to trial. First, the plaintiff, who represents the injured party, must show that the healthcare provider had a legal duty provide reasonable care to the patient. Next, the plaintiff must show that this duty did not meet acceptable standards. Usually, experts are needed to testify this matter and show what those standards are. The plaintiff must then show that this breech of duty is indeed what caused the resulting injury. Finally, damages must be established. These may be to compensate for the plaintiff's loss, or to punish the healthcare provider for negligence. Punitive damages may only be awarded if the healthcare provider was reckless during the procedure.
It is the plaintiff's duty to provide burden of proof in a medical malpractice case; that is, he or she must produce and illustrate enough evidence to indicate that his or her claim is valid. As mentioned, expert testimony can be a key to doing this successfully. These people must be qualified in order to present their expertise in court. The expert's testimony will be assessed according to four main points: whether the theory has been tested, whether it is been peer reviewed and published, whether the rate of error is known, and whether there are standards in place.
If you believe that your malpractice case meets these standards, you should be sure to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to verify and be sure. Do not hesitate; medical malpractice claims must be filed within a certain time period after the procedure. Doctors have a duty to take care of their patients, and if you feel you have been denied this right, you should seek the compensation you deserve.