Every physician should maintain a reasonable standard of skill and care; however, if they fail to correctly diagnose or treat an illness or injury, they may be guilty of medical malpractice. The problem is, the actions of any medical professional must meet reasonable standards of care and skill that another professional in the same field would exhibit in those same conditions. Only if the victim can prove that their physician’s treatment was not up to that reasonable standard can they file a claim for medical malpractice.
Many types of actions, inaction, or incorrect action can lead to medical malpractice, but most of them include failing to follow proper procedures or following proper procedures incorrectly. Those types of negligence include:
- Failing to diagnose an illness that a more competent doctor would have discovered and treated
- Failing to treat an illness or injury with the reasonable skill or care that a more competent physician would employ
- Failing to obtain fully informed consent from the patient by not explaining all of the known risks of a treatment or procedure
There are many other categories of negligence, but these examples make it clear that the measure of competence is what a reasonably skilled medical professional in the same field would do under the same circumstances.
In order to have sufficient cause to file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, there must be sufficient evidence to prove their negligence. That is most often found in one of two ways:
- The injury is so clearly the result of negligence that it proves itself, and no more testimony or evidence is required
- Another medical expert has examined the medical records and the patient and found that medical malpractice did, in fact, occur, and they are willing to testify to that fact. Many state laws require a certificate of merit from that expert be filed with the medical malpractice claim.
Even if there is sufficient evidence to prove that a medical professional was negligent in their care of a patient, unless that patient suffered injury that resulted in damages, there are no grounds for compensation. Damages often include medical costs, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost income. If those damages exist and can be sufficiently justified to stand up in a settlement negotiation or a hearing in court, the victim may win their case.
Getting Legal Help with Damages for Wrong Diagnosis and Failure to Treat
It may take an expert to prove that a doctor negligently diagnosed and failed to treat an illness or injury. A patient may be dissatisfied with the care their physician provided, but unless there is proof of negligence certified by an expert, and sufficient evidence to prove that case in court, the victim may have no case. It can be essential to consult a skilled medical malpractice attorney to learn if a victim has grounds for a claim and how to pursue it before spending time and money proceeding in the wrong direction.