Every physician owes patients a reasonable standard of medical care. If a physician fails to perform at the accepted standard and a patient suffers as a result of his or her actions, the patient reserves the right to file a malpractice claim against those responsible. Failing to take appropriate steps during the diagnostic process and to make reasonable diagnoses based on the evidence does constitute malpractice, and you can sue your physician for the intentional or negligent mistake.
Medical Malpractice cases are very difficult to prove. Only on the very rare occasion will a medical malpractice case be so clear cut that it resolves quickly and quietly. These cases are usually long, drawn out, and very complicated. The standard of care to sue a doctor or medical professional for their negligence or medical error is a higher standard than you’d normally find in any other personal injury case. It must be proven beyond a balance of probabilities that your doctor failed to meet the care of a reasonable doctor in that same situation. So long as your doctor followed procedure, protocol and acted as a reasonable doctor in that situation, proving negligence will be very difficult.
As this article has made clear, it’s not easy to come up with a clear number that accurately accommodates for pain and suffering. How inconvenient or awful one person may consider a life-long back injury is not the same as another person. Likewise, how you determine a dollar amount is even trickier since both pain and how it affects someone is extremely subjective.
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No one is infallible however, where a person has a life his/her hands it is expected that they will do all that is require according to the standards expected to have little or no errors. It is on that basis that a person can sue for misdiagnosis because the medical practitioner showed some level of incompetence which is unacceptable. A person can sue the doctor and the hospital if the doctor is an employee of the hospital.
In the example above, emotional stress would include the plaintiff’s embarrassment or depression as a result of disfigurement. Likewise, the plaintiff would be compensated if the jury finds that the plaintiff has suffered a permanent loss of function or impairment from the jaw bone injury. The jury would also be permitted to consider the loss of ability of enjoy life’s pleasures such as eating or even kissing. Note that this requires proof of what the plaintiff did and what they enjoyed before the injury. A jury can also consider the expected length of the plaintiff’s life, lifestyle habits, and whether the plaintiff was generally healthy before the incident to determine how much to award.
"The opinion upholding the judgment recognizes that although not every fiduciary relationship will give rise to a claim for damages, where the specific professional responsibility of an attending physician is to convey accurate information, then failure to do so can give rise to liability if the physician's breach results in unusual and extreme emotional distress on the part of the plaintiff," Raynes said in an email.
Medical malpractice cases must be brought soon after the injury. In most states, you must bring a medical malpractice claim fairly quickly -- often between six months and two years, depending on the state. (The time period in which you must bring the lawsuit is called the "statute of limitations.") If you don't file the lawsuit within the specified period of time, the court will dismiss the case regardless of the facts.
Doctor and hospitals are liable to any patient where there is medical misdiagnosis caused by the negligence of the doctor. Most malpractice lawsuits in the US are as a result of medical misdiagnosis due to the doctor failing below the required standard as he was negligent. Misdiagnosis is more common in outpatient facilities as the government and private sector efforts have focused on inpatient safety. A person suing for misdiagnosis requires opinion from other doctors about the standard procedure which a doctor failed to do before diagnosing a patient. A considerable sum is generally recoverable because of the lasting effects misdiagnosis might have on the patient.
How can you tell the difference between appropriate, but unsuccessful care and medical malpractice? Ask. Ask your doctor. Get second opinions if possible. Talk to lawyers, who may have medically trained staff that can give an informed opinion, or who may have dealt with the exact same issue (or doctor) you are dealing with. Do whatever you can to attempt to allay any misgivings you have about your care. But take any opinions with a grain of salt. Some doctors simply won’t accuse a “brother physician” of making a mistake. Some malpractice attorneys will exaggerate the potential of your claim in an attempt to make money. Use your best discretion when seeking opinions on your treatment, but be diligent in the pursuit of information. Until you file a lawsuit, you are your own best advocate and investigator.