Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional fails to use the standard of care that applies to him or her.
Lawyers who handle cases against doctors are often referred to as medical malpractice lawyers. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional fails to use the standard of care that applies to him or her. It is important to note that a healthcare professional making a mistake does not necessarily mean that he or she has committed malpractice. Healthcare professionals are allowed mistakes as long as their conduct conforms to the standard of care that applies to them. Sometimes, there is a bad outcome after medical treatment but not necessarily any negligence.
There is no book that says what the standard of care is. Instead, that opinion would come from other healthcare professionals. While one healthcare professional might give the opinion that medical treatment was negligent, another might say that the treatment complied with the standard of care. As you might be able to tell by now, determining if a case involving a medical error is a medical malpractice case or not, can be difficult.
The first step a lawyer takes in determining whether a case involves medical malpractice or not is a thorough interview with the injured victim and/or his or her loved ones. If after this interview, the lawyer determines that the case warrants further investigation, the relevant medical records will be obtained. Believe it or not, this is often a somewhat tedious process that takes weeks or months. Once in a while, the potential client is able to gather the medical records on his or her own and this helps the lawyer greatly.
Once the records are obtained, they need to be reviewed by a healthcare professional to determine if the case has merit. Sometimes it’s not easy to find a healthcare professional to review a case against another healthcare professional and it’s almost never cheap. Given the time and expense for the lawyer just in figuring out if a case has merit or not, many medical malpractice lawyers will only take cases involving catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.
If after expert review, it is found a case has merit, a lawsuit generally needs to be filed. Most medical malpractice cases cannot be settled as a claim like a rear-end automobile case with minor injuries. In fact, most of them require rather extensive litigation before their conclusion is reached.