Medical Malpractice: Do I Have a Case?

Experienced male doctor making report“If something goes wrong, I can always sue, right?” At least, that is what you tell yourself when you go in for a medical procedure. But this may not be possible. Most medical malpractice lawyers agree that medical malpractice suits are often extremely difficult to win. Physicians may require you to sign release forms, which basically state that they won’t be held liable and that you understand the risks involved in the procedure. To qualify for a case you must consider the following:

1- Liability

To have a case, an attorney has to prove that someone is ‘liable’ for the accident. This means that someone is legally responsible for the injury or condition and that this condition was the result of the medical procedure.

In other words, you could experience an injury or a poor procedure but this doesn’t necessarily mean the doctor was the cause of the injury or result.

2- Following of Regulations

To determine if there is a case for negligence, your legal advisor must also determine whether the procedure followed acceptable procedures. If these weren’t followed then you may have a case, providing your attorney can prove this non-compliance was the cause of the injury.

3- Determine Where the Negligence Occurred

Another deciding factor to your case lies in finding where the negligence occurred; especially as this could have happened at various stages of the health care process. It can occur when a health care worker administers the wrong medicine or misdiagnoses a problem, when a physician or healthcare provider fails to treat an illness properly, or when he fails to inform you of the risks inherent in a procedure.

4- Proof

Even if you know there was negligence, you won’t have a case unless the negligence is documented and proved to have caused the injury or to have worsened the problem.

A situation like the following would not offer compensation:

A physician misdiagnoses a case of cancer and this causes the patient’s death; the physician may argue that the misdiagnosis would not affect the outcome. The illness was terminal no matter what the procedure.

To have a viable medical malpractice case, you must have documentation which proves that the negligence worsened or caused the condition.

5 – Your Chances

No matter how injured you are, an attorney cannot often tell you what the outcome of a lawsuit will be at the onset of the case. Even so, an attorney usually won’t take on a medical malpractice suit unless there is a substantial amount of money involved. This is because court fees, costs, and the time involved is substantial.

Bottom Line

Establishing liability and proving that the negligence caused your worsened condition are the key elements to your having a viable medical malpractice case. In this case, you may be entitled to damages, which can include compensation for emotional loss, job loss, pain and medical bills. However these damages can vary and the outcome of a case can take years to resolve. Because of the involved process, most cases are resolved out of court and compensation is offered at a lower rate.

Jeremy S has extensive experience as a business consultant. His articles mainly appear on websites that focus on legal issues. Visit to find a lawyer near you.

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