Medical errors are a leading cause of injury, illness, and death in the United States. If you think you’re a victim of medical malpractice, you’ve probably wondered whether or not your case is worth taking to court. The short answer to this question is “it depends,” but the easiest solution is simple: Pick up the phone and talk to a lawyer.
Qualifications: What a Successful Medical Malpractice Case Looks Like
First, you’ll need to show that a doctor-patient relationship existed. If the person responsible for your damages wasn’t actually your doctor (or other medical professional responsible for your wellbeing), you won’t be able to demonstrate negligence in court. If, on the other hand, you can prove that the doctor owed you “duty of care,” you may have a case. In the legal realm, “duty of care” refers to an obligation held by one person to act in the best interests of another person. A doctor, for example, holds duty of care to act in your best interests and operate within the expected standard of care for a medical professional.
Factors that demonstrate a doctor-patient relationship:
- Ongoing treatment from the doctor
- You chose to be treated by the doctor
- You were examined for health problems by the doctor
- The doctor order prescriptions or other treatment for you
Understanding the Phrase, “Medical Standard of Care”
There’s a difference between an unhappy patient and someone who is the victim of medical malpractice. In other words, you could be dissatisfied with your treatment, but that doesn’t mean your doctor was negligent. So what determines medical negligence? In short, your doctor is negligent when he/she operates outside the accepted standard of medical care. In order to bring a successful malpractice suit, you’ll have to prove that the doctor demonstrated a less-than-average level of skill and care during treatment. Additionally, you’ll need to show that the doctor’s substandard care was directly responsible for your damages.
If you have more questions about medical malpractice and your legal options, contact Habbas & Associates to speak a member of our San Jose-based legal team.