How do I know If I have a medical malpractice case?
Even when something goes wrong during the course of medical
treatment, from the patient’s perspective, it isn’t always easy to know whether
or not the problem amounts to actionable
medical malpractice. The concept of legal fault is a lot more complicated
than it is in other kinds of cases.
For example, let’s say you are in a car accident where the other
driver ran a red light and broadsided your car. In that situation, there’s no
question that the other driver 1) caused the accident and 2) will be on the
legal hook to pay for damage to your car and to compensate you for your
But in the context of medical care, just because something goes
wrong during a treatment or procedure and the patient ends up with an unfavorable
result, that doesn’t mean the doctor committed medical malpractice. Fault is a complicated
concept in these cases, and a doctor’s liability hinges on the injured patient’s
ability to show:
1) what the appropriate medical
standard of care was under the circumstances (this is a legal yardstick
that determines what the doctor should have done), and
2) exactly how the doctor fell short of that standard in providing
care to the patient.
Both of these elements almost always need to be established
from an expert medical witness.
Bottom line: You’re probably not in the best position to know
whether or not you have a viable medical malpractice case. If you think you
might have been harmed by the provision of sub-standard medical care, your best
first step is to discuss your situation with an experienced medical malpractice
by: David Goguen, J.D.