What Is Medical Malpractice, and Does It Apply to You?
In addition to family law and related fields, Sessums Law Group also specializes in Medical Malpractice law for the greater Tampa Bay area. Our offices in Tampa, Sarasota, Lakeland, and Sebring seek to provide top-quality representation for clients who believe they have a medical malpractice claim and wish to take their case before authority to receive compensation they deserve. Medical malpractice, though, can be a confusing subject, as can determining whether or not your own personal situation warrants a malpractice claim.
So, what is medical malpractice, and does it apply to your circumstances?
Medical malpractice, by general definition, is when harm is done to an individual by a doctor or medical professional failing to perform his or her duties in a competent manner. In other words, if you or someone you love sustained injury or hardship following time with a specific doctor or medical provider, you could potentially have grounds for a malpractice case. Some basic required information for filing a case of medical malpractice include:
- Proof of the relationship between the patient in question and the accused doctor or medical professional.
- Proof of negligence by the doctor in question. You must show that the doctor or care provider acted in a way that is not compliant with your state’s medical standard of care. You simply being “unhappy” with care provided by a medical professional is not enough for a malpractice claim.
- Proof that the doctor’s failure to follow the standard of care resulted in specific injury or harm. This includes physical pain and suffering, mental suffering, additional medical costs, and/or loss of time and income due to being left unable to work.
If you have these basic requirements, you could have the makings of a medical malpractice case. Even with these requirements though, some additional information is needed to determine what type of medical malpractice case you have, and how you will be able to file. Cases typically fall under the following categories:
Failure to Diagnose. If you can prove that a doctor could have prevented your suffering with an earlier diagnosis, or a different diagnosis, and did not, then you could have a failure to diagnose claim.
Failure to Warn of Risks. If a certain treatment plan (including surgical procedures) has known risks, and a doctor fails to make his or her patient aware of them (therein giving the patient a chance to change their mind based on those risks), he or she can be liable for medical malpractice. Note, a malpractice case applies if the patient sustains an injury or harm that is directly related to the aforementioned risks and could have been prevented by prior knowledge and warnings by the doctor in charge.
Improper Treatment. This type of claim applies to cases where an individual was treated in a way that does not line up with the standard of care, and in a way that a competent doctor would not condone or participate in, then you could have an improper treatment case. Additionally, this type of case can be applied to cases where a doctor chose the correct treatment plan for a patient, but failed to execute it properly resulting in injury or harm.
While there are always loopholes and outliers in cases of all kinds, medical malpractice cases will usually line up with one of the above categories, and your legal representative will be able to help you determine which one, if any, applies to your specific circumstances. A few things that they all have in common are that they need to be filed in a short time frame following the injury for best results, and they require expert witnesses to prove harm done. In many cases, there are additional steps to be taken by the patient (like notifying the doctor in the question of the impending malpractice charge) but this varies based on your state and specific case.
If you or someone you love is suffering from injuries resulting from incompetent medical care, Sessums Law Group wants to help you get the compensation you deserve. We strive to treat each of our clients with the personal, quality representation we’ve come to be known for, and we are ready to help you alleviate your suffering in whatever way we can. You don’t expect to walk away from your doctor in worse shape than you were when you got there, but when the unexpected happens, WE STAND FOR YOU!