How Do I Know If I Have a Claim for Medical Malpractice? (Part 1 of 2)

A doctor holding a chartWe trust our medical professionals with our health and are often reluctant to believe that something has gone wrong. After all, it’s not uncommon to be in pain or suffer adverse effects following extensive medical treatment. Unfortunately, things do go wrong and accidents happen that could have been prevented. We regularly receive questions from people wondering if something has gone wrong – how do you know if you’re the victim of medical malpractice?

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case

First, it’s important to understand what you will need to prove in order to prevail in a medical malpractice claim. Legal claims are broken down into “elements” that are the basic requirements to make your claim. The elements of a medical malpractice claim are as follows:

  1. Your doctor, the hospital, or other medical professional owed you a duty;
  2. They breached that duty; and
  3. Their breach of that duty caused your injury.

The Doctor-Patient Relationship

In order to establish that your doctor owed you a duty, you will have to demonstrate that there was a doctor-patient relationship between you and the doctor. This is usually fairly easy to prove – you were admitted to the hospital or were in the physician’s care. However, taking advice from a doctor who was speaking generally at a social event is not likely to meet this requirement.

Breaching Their Duty to You

Proving that your doctor breached their duty to you is more difficult. Most medical malpractice cases are based on an allegation that the doctor or other medical professional was negligent. When you claim that someone was negligent, you are basically arguing that they failed to act according to a standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would follow in similar circumstances. Medical treatment often involves certain known risks, and there can be unknown and unforeseen complications. As a result, negligence can be difficult to prove in medical malpractice cases.

Generally speaking, you can prove negligence by looking to the standard of care adopted by medical professionals performing that kind of treatment or in that field. If you have to proceed to trial, this will almost always involve an expert witness who can testify to what the standard of care is and how the medical professional failed to meet it.

The Doctor’s Negligence Caused Your Injury

The next challenge is to prove that the negligence committed by the medical professional negligence caused your injury. This can be more complicated than you think since people receiving medical treatment are already sick or injured. As a result, a common defense is to argue that your injury or illness would have happened despite your negligence, or there was a known risk that the injury would occur as a complication. Again, you may need an expert witness to help prove this element of your claim.

Contact an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case EvaluationThe attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have been representing victims of medical malpractice in the Atlanta area and across the state of Georgia since 1992. With dedicated and aggressive legal representation, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Don’t suffer because of someone else’s negligence – call us at 888-474-9616 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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