What do you do if you think you have a medical malpractice claim? Well, you need to research it, you need to look at it. Just because there’s a bad result doesn’t mean a doctor has committed negligence or breach the standard of medical care they should have afforded to you. So, a bad result does not a medical malpractice claim make. It is only when a doctor breaks the rules by which they treat you and they’re supposed to treat you and that causes you damages that you have a claim.
In fact, Missouri and Illinois and most other states have tort reform on this, and as a lawyer I have to have a written opinion of a medical provider in the same area as the person we’re suing saying that there was a deviation from the standard of care and that deviation proximately caused damages to my client, and what does that mean?
Well, deviation of the standard of care means the average standard of medical care that is provided in the community, if the doctor doesn’t provide that, then they may have committed malpractice.
Another way to talk about it is medical negligence. Hospital errors and medical negligence is either the third or fourth-leading cause of death in the United States every year. It’s all over the place, and it is underreported and underappreciated in America, but enough editorializing.
So, what the law says, and the jury needs to find, is that standard of medical care was breached, and doctors are in the business and medical institutions are in the business of treating people and making money on that, and they have certain safety rules with which they abide in order to do that.
So, if a doctor breaks that safety rule, if he leaves a sponge in you, if he cuts an artery and doesn’t check on it, if they operated on the wrong side of your body, if they don’t give you antibiotic at the time and lets you die, if they don’t address complaints of eye pain and lets you go blind, there are a wide variety of circumstances of medical malpractice claims that can occur, and I don’t want to detail on there. You can google them, you can find out all the stories you want.
But, if some of those things occur and it’s a clear violation of the standard of care, there are medical articles, there are journals, that’s the way people are trained not to do that and that’s violated, that’s medical malpractice.
Then the question is: What did that cause? You want to make sure that that medical malpractice caused you damage. So, if you break your arm and you go to the ER and they don’t diagnose you, but you go to the ER the next day and they diagnose and treat your broken arm, the first ER isn’t negligent. I mean, they were negligent, but they didn’t cause you any damage because a one-day delay does not a damage make. So, the negligence at issue has to proximately cause the damage.
Many times people are getting medical care because they have problems already. You need to make sure that that deviation from the standard of care — a hospital not doing a fall risk assessment and letting you fall and break your leg — make sure that that deviation from the standard of care, that negligence is what caused the damages.
If you have any questions about a medical malpractice claim, whether you or your family or your loved ones have a claim and what to do about it, you can call me at 314-542-2222, in Illinois where it’s 618-272-2222, our toll-free number is 866-599-2222. We’re happy to answer any questions for free and to give you our advice, and remember, there are short-time limitations in which you have to pursue a medical malpractice claim, so do not delay. Thank you.