Medical Mistake: Can You Sue a Doctor, Nurse or Hospital?

Medical Mistake: Can You Sue a Doctor, Nurse or Hospital?

Medicine is one field in which the daily decisions and actions of medical professionals can make the difference between life and death. If you or a member of your family have suffered the consequences of a suspected mistake under the care of a doctor, nurse or hospital, you might wonder what to do.

While you or your loved one may be in pain and adjusting to a new way of life due to the mistake, the idea of taking legal action against a doctor or hospital can be intimidating and confusing. Medical malpractice cases are typically legally complicated and medically complex. Because of that, it is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney if you believe you were the victim of a medical mistake. An experienced attorney will evaluate your situation to determine if the following three elements of a medical malpractice claim can be proven.

A violation of the standard of care

A patient has the right to expect that health care professionals will deliver care that is consistent with the standard of care collectively recognized by health professionals in the same field. If it can be proven that you or your loved one received care that was below the standard, the first element of a medical malpractice claim is satisfied.

An injury occurred

The second element of a medical malpractice claim is proving the patient suffered an injury, such as a physical disability, an increased chance of recurrence of cancer, an amputation of a limb, or death. If the patient suffered a serious injury, the second element is satisfied.   

The injury was caused by the violation

The third element is to prove the injury suffered by the patient would not have happened if not for the substandard care. If the patient suffers an injury that was not caused by the substandard care or the substandard care did not cause an injury to the patient, this element is not satisfied. The injury must have been caused by the substandard care to satisfy the third element.

Complicating a medical malpractice case even more, is the legal requirement that a medical expert(s) must provide testimony supportive of the three elements of a malpractice claim. If a patient is unable to obtain the required medical expert support, a claim cannot be pursued 

Other considerations

When evaluating a claim for medical malpractice, consideration is given not only to the three necessary elements to prove a claim, but also to the potential damages that can be obtained. Damages are an award of money to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury. Damages include loss of past and future income, pain and suffering, and past and future medical bills. Depending on the amount of damages, the cost of pursuing a long and expensive lawsuit might outweigh the potential monetary recovery.

If you believe you were the victim of a medical mistake and can meet the above criteria, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney for a consultation.

 Some firms, including ours, offer a free consultation to help you determine whether you have a potential claim to pursue. In addition, if you engage us to pursue your medical malpractice claim, we do not collect a fee unless we win your case. Contact us and let us guide you.

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About The Author

A seasoned trial attorney, Attorney Wickenheiser has advocated for victims and their families injured because of medical malpractice, nursing home death, pharmaceutical liability, and product liability. She focuses her practice on representing those who have suffered catastrophic injury and has successfully negotiated numerous settlements, many over a million dollars. She has received many prestigious awards and recognitions. Attorney Wickenheiser is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts.