Medical Malpractice FAQ
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Have you suffered an injury or serious illness due to the actions of a doctor or medical treatment you have received? If so, you may wish to consider filing a medical malpractice claim. These issues can be intimidating, so it is strongly advised you seek a Montgomery County medical malpractice attorney to help you throughout the process. Here are some answers to a few common questions regarding medical malpractice cases.
What Mistakes Count as Medical Malpractice?
If a patient is harmed by a doctor when the doctor’s actions were beneath accepted standards of care, the patient can file for medical malpractice. This could include a number of actions, such as failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing a condition, failing to follow proper treatment procedures, or forgetting to warn a patient of known serious risks for a procedure or drug.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Pursue?
There are three types of damages you can pursue in a medical malpractice case. General damages are for things like bereavement, pain and suffering, and other issues that may not necessarily be quantifiable. Special damages are for quantifiable losses, such as medical bills and reimbursement for lost income due to the injury. Punitive damages are rare and are meant to punish a hospital or doctor that is continually or wildly negligent, such as in cases of intentional harm.
Can I Sue My Doctor if They Failed to Disclose the Risks of My Surgery?
This is a tricky question because doctors are not required by law to disclose all risks of a particular treatment or surgery, just the serious ones. This allows the patient to give their doctor what is known as “informed consent.” In order to determine if the doctor is required to obtain consent for a risk, the court will often consider a few questions: “Would another competent doctor have disclosed the risk?” and“Would a normal patient have made a different decision if the risk was disclosed?”
In other situations, medical professionals can’t disclose the risks of an injury for some reason. This is more common in emergency situations where a patient either is not conscious to hear and accept the risks or taking the time to do so could jeopardize their life. In these situations, informed consent is not required.
Can I Hold a Hospital Responsible?
Sometimes. It depends on the facts of your case. For the most part, doctors are not employees of hospitals directly, but rather independent contractors who simply practice at the hospital facilities. There are a few exceptions (primarily in situations like the emergency room) but for the most part doctors and hospitals are separate entities legally. This is why doctors must carry medical malpractice insurance by law.
Nurses, on the other hand, are hospital employees, and their mistakes could make the hospital liable. Of course, as with doctors, there are exceptions, but for the most part you could hold either the hospital or the attending doctor liable in the event you are injured by a nurse.
Will I Be Able to Sue If Medical Malpractice Gets Reformed?
Absolutely. While medical malpractice and other tort law reform has been a hot topic in the news lately, your rights to compensation won’t go away. There’s no telling if tort reform will pass, or how it will impact your ability to pursue compensation because the reform proposals are widely varying. However, you and your attorney will still be able to fight to get you the compensation you deserve even after reform passes.
Do you need assistance with a medical malpractice claim? Don’t hesitate to contact Morris Wilson, P.C. for aggressive representation for your case. Call today at (610) 810-2082.