Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice
Q: What is medical malpractice?
A: Medical malpractice is when the treatment given to a patient by a professional health care provider (such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital) deviates from the standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, causing harm to that patient.
Q: Does someone who is not satisfied with the results of his or her surgery have a malpractice case?
A: Not necessarily. In general, there are no guarantees of medical results, and unexpected or unsuccessful results do not always mean that negligence occurred. To succeed in a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff has to show an injury or damages that resulted from the doctor’s deviation from the appropriate standard of care.
At some hospitals, 18-36% of patients may suffer harm from a medical mistake that causes injury or death.
North Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorney
Located in eastern North Carolina, the Melvin Law Firm concentrates its practice exclusively on medical malpractice. For over a decade, we have assisted victims of medical error and their families in getting the compensation that they needed. Our firm’s reputation for thoroughness and skill is well-known. Contact the Melvin Law Firm to discuss how we can serve you.
Medical Malpractice – An Overview
Medical malpractice occurs when a negligent act (or omission) by a doctor or other medical professional results in harm to a patient. Negligence by a medical professional could include an error in diagnosis, treatment or illness management, and could happen during a medical procedure, test, evaluation or surgery. If such negligence results in injury to the patient, a case could arise against a doctor if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted standards of practice; against a hospital for providing improper care protocols, including problems with medications, sanitation or nursing staff levels; or against local, state or federal agencies and entities that operate hospital facilities.
Medical malpractice laws are designed to protect patients’ rights to compensation if they are injured as the result of negligence. However, malpractice suits can be complex and costly to take to trial. While, theoretically, you could seek compensation for any injury caused by the negligence of a health care provider, regardless of its seriousness, the time and money involved make it unrealistic to sue for an injury that is minor or heals quickly. If you believe you have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, it is important to consult with an attorney at The Melvin Law Firm in Greenville, NC, who can help you determine whether your claim is worth pursuing.
Responsible Parties in Medical Malpractice Actions
Medical malpractice actions are not strictly limited to medical doctors. They can also be brought against nurses, dentists, osteopaths, health care facilities, chiropractors, naturopaths, complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) providers and others providing medical services, such as clinics, surgery centers and nursing homes.
Proving Your Case – Causation
To establish a case for medical malpractice, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, the plaintiff suffered an injury, and that the injury was caused by the doctor or other medical professional’s negligence. Proof of causation can be a particularly difficult issue in a medical malpractice case.
For one thing, the injuries generally involved in medical malpractice cases require specific medical training to understand, and the normal plaintiff may not know the cause of such injuries. In addition, injuries could be exacerbated by the underlying condition(s) for which plaintiff was seeking treatment, so it can be hard to tell the true extent that the negligence itself resulted in harm.