Understanding what defines a medical malpractice case and the criteria that legal teams use to evaluate each case can be helpful if you think you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, negligence is the third cause of death in the United States today. Just two years ago in 2012, more than $3 billion in medical malpractice payouts were made. But how do you know if you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, as defined by the courts, vs. simply having experienced a less than perfect patient outcome?
What is malpractice?
Medical malpractice can be defined as occurring when a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider deviates from the “standard of care.” The standard of care is what’s medically accepted as best treatment for specific symptoms and conditions and coincides with the decision that a well-informed, judicious practitioner would make when faced with the facts of the case.
If injury or damage occurs as a result of these deviations in care, the patient has a potential medical malpractice claim. While a bad patient outcome doesn’t always mean negligence, it’s taken into account. In some cases, a medical professional may even admit to a patient that an error was made in the hopes of encouraging them to settle outside of court.
How does an attorney evaluate a medical malpractice case?
Malpractice cases have a reputation for being difficult and expensive to litigate. These are not wholly unearned. The courts and juries need strong evidence before successful judgments are made. That’s why the evaluation of cases is so important; an attorney experience in medical malpractice cases including trial representation must determine if a case has merit before embarking on the path to trial. It’s also important for patients, who want the best chance for a good outcome.
During this phase, attorneys will secure copies of medical records and review all facts of the case. They’ll conduct interviews the patient, family, friends, and other sources. They’ll also bring in outside expert consultants in that medical field to review the case and other pertinent information. Other factors such as statute of limitations and procedural processes may impact the case. If patients believe that they’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Have you or a loved one experienced medical malpractice through negligence, error or delayed or misdiagnosis of a serious illness? Contact Rasmussen and Miner today to discuss your situation with Utah’s most trusted medical malpractice attorneys.