There are some people who enter into a legally-binding arrangement with anyone for whom they perform services. Doctors are among them. When a doctor gives you treatment, they’re legally-bound to offer the best possible treatment and are legally responsible for the consequences of treatments that are negligent, ineffective or improperly called for.
A medical malpractice attorney always needs to be consulted about specific cases, but the basics of malpractice law are straightforward enough that anyone can understand them. There are four major parts of malpractice cases that differ very little from one to the next.
- The healthcare provider offered treatment to the patient
- That treatment was not effective, appropriate or it was not given
- The patient suffered because of this physician malpractice
- The patient needs to recover damages because of the malpractice
Even though courts are designed to get to the truth of the matter, they do take the human factor into account. Damage, in the case of a medical malpractice claim, does not only mean how much you paid for an ineffective treatment or how much money the results of that treatment cost you. It also means emotional damage and physical pain and suffering. Those things are hard to quantify, but they are legitimate grounds to sue if you’ve been hurt by an errant healthcare provider.
Healthcare providers carry insurance to protect themselves against medical negligence claims. This is a legal obligation on their part. Oftentimes, when the case is obviously one where the physician or institution is at fault, a settlement will be offered. This happens outside of court; you never go to trial. In essence, the healthcare provider or doctor’s insurance company is offering the claimant money in exchange for not dragging the case into court, which may be preferable to both parties, simply to eliminate the cost and the stress.
Filing a medical malpractice claim does not expose you to having your privacy violated. A malpractice law firm will handle your medical information with great attention to confidentiality and a lawyer that you hire is on your side, professionally so, in fact. While these cases can be difficult to face down, depending upon the condition you’ve suffered, you shouldn’t let embarrassment or concerns about privacy deter you from getting the damages you’re owed. Likely, you’ve already paid a heavy price for your physician’s incompetence or negligence, and you deserve to be compensated for that suffering.