As a patient, you place a lot of trust in your health care provider. That trust is generally well-earned, of course, as doctors and other health care professionals go through challenging training and rigorous education. However, even doctors make mistakes, and claims against them when damaging mistakes occur are known as medical malpractice claims.
If you have been harmed in some way as a result of your health care, and you are thinking about filing a claim, please see the frequently asked questions below for assistance.
Q: Can a claim be filed when a patient is not happy with the results of their treatment?
A: The answer to this question depends on the circumstances and the treatment involved. Many health care treatments do not come along with the guarantee of success. For example, you may choose to have surgery in the hopes of correcting a certain condition, while knowing that the surgery may not be successful. In such a case, it is unlikely that a medical malpractice claim would be valid.
Q: How do I proceed when I wish to file a medical malpractice claim?
A: When you decide that you would like to pursue a medical malpractice claim, the first step is to talk to a lawyer with experience in this area. This is a very specific area of law, so working with an experienced lawyer is a wise choice. Not only will the lawyer be able to help you go through all of the proper steps to file the claim, but he or she will also be able to tell you if it is even a good decision to go through with the claim in the first place.
Q: Does ‘informed consent’ relate to medical malpractice?
A: Yes, it does. Basically, your health care provider is required to inform you as to the various risks, benefits, and alternatives involved with your treatment. If you are not given the appropriate information, and given the chance to properly consent to your treatment, there may be grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Q: Did I lose the right to file a claim when I signed a consent form?
A: Absolutely not. While a consent form is a legal requirement for many treatments, it does not recuse the doctor from liability if something is done improperly. If it is determined that medical malpractice was committed, it will not matter that a consent form was signed. You are legally entitled to proper medical care which adheres to accepted standards, regardless of what you have signed.
Q: How is medical malpractice proven at trial?
A: Usually, it will be up to a jury to hear testimonies before determining the validity of your medical malpractice claim. Often, experts are called to testify in such a proceeding, so they can explain to the jury how the treatment may have been performed incorrectly. Should the jury determine that medical malpractice was committed, your claim may be deemed valid and you may be awarded damages.