Do I have a claim for medical malpractice?

Do I have a claim for medical malpractice?

Statistics show that preventable medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for hundreds of thousands of fatalities each year. In addition to deaths, thousands more injuries occur due to medical errors. With the plethora of injuries and hospital visits that end with poor outcomes, many patients wonder if they may have a viable claim for medical malpractice. If you have questions about harm from a medical visit you or a loved one is experiencing, it’s a good idea to contact an experienced San Diego medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your matter.

The first factor to consider is whether a doctor/patient (or health care professional/patient) relationship has been established. In order to have a medical malpractice claim, the health care professional must owe a duty of care to the patient. This occurs when a patient visits his or her doctor. It may also apply to nurses, mid-wives and other hospital staff. However, simply being a doctor and giving advice may not be sufficient (i.e. casual conversation suggesting medical treatment may not be sufficient).

A second issue to consider is once a relationship and duty of care is established, did the health care professional “breach” that duty? A breach refers to actions (or inactions) that do not meet the standard of care expected for the health care professional. This is typically established via expert.

Once a professional relationship is established, along with a breach, it is necessary to show that the breach caused your harm. A doctor may make an error, but you may not suffer harm as a result. Similarly, you may suffer an injury while hospitalized and/or seeking medical treatment, but it may not be the result of physician error. In order to have a claim for medical malpractice, the medical professional’s error must be the cause of your harm.

Finally, the damage caused must be significant in order to have a viable claim. Due to the cost of bringing a medical malpractice claim and the need for expert testimony, the strongest cases as those where the injuries are significant and permanent.

For more information or if you have questions or concerns about a potential medical malpractice claim, please contact the dedicated San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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