Questions Frequently Asked Regarding Medical Malpractice
Q: What is medical malpractice?
A: Medical malpractice is when a doctor or other health care provider neglects a patient and it results in harm or injury being caused to the patient. In these cases, negligence can come from dentists, hospitals, hospital employees, technicians, nurses and other departments that provide patient care.
Q: Can someone open a malpractice case if he or she is unsatisfied with the results of a surgery?
A: Generally, guarantees aren’t given for medical treatments, such as surgery. It’s common for unsuccessful or unexpected results to occur, but this doesn’t constitute as negligence. In order to win a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has to show evidence that he or she was injured or damaged due to the doctor not providing standard care for that particular procedure.
Q: What does informed consent mean?
A: Each state has its own definition for the term “informed consent”, but overall it means that a medical provider is required to inform patients of potential risks, benefits and alternatives before providing a medical treatment, procedure or surgery, and must obtain written consent from the patient before proceeding.
Q: Can I open a case against my doctor because he prescribed me a drug for treatment, but didn’t disclose that it was a part of an experimental program?
A: It’s possible that you will have grounds for a case because your doctor didn’t obtain an informed consent from you or disclose to you that the drug was a part of an experimental program, which you have the right to refuse participation in.
Q: If I signed a consent form before getting a medical procedure, can I still file a malpractice suit and obtain recovery for any damages?
A: It is still possible to recover damages caused. Just because you sign a consent form doesn’t mean that the physician who performed the procedure isn’t held liable for negligence. If you can prove that the physician didn’t provide an applicable standard of care when conducting the procedure and it leads to you getting injured, then you can build a case. It is also possible to claim that the procedure went beyond the consent that was given to you, which would make the doctor liable for battery.
Q: How do juries determine whether a doctor was negligent or not?
A: The jury will review the experts testimony and the testimony that other medical professionals give regarding the actions of the physician and whether they believe the actions were acceptable or not.
Q: What is a “Certificate of Merit?”
A: Some states require that a certificate of merit be filed before a malpractice case can be opened against a health care professional. To file one, the plaintiff must have another physician or other expert review his or her medical records regarding the procedure or treatment in question, and certify that the health care provider deviated from accepted medical practices and caused the plaintiff’s injury. This certificate of merit can then be filed and used as confirmation that the lawyer consulted with a medical expert about the plaintiff’s case.
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