Medical Malpractice FAQs

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Medical Malpractice FAQs

If you have been injured or have otherwise suffered a grievance due to the negligence of a medical practitioner, it is important to understand your legal rights. When looking into medical malpractice lawsuits, important questions may arise that could direct you toward your next step. The following includes some of the most essential medical malpractice questions and answers that can guide your legal claim. 

What are damages and what types of damages are available to those who seek a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Damages are monetary awards usually given to the individual who seeks restitution for injuries sustained from an incident. For individuals who have undergone an injury or an illness, there are three types of damages that are usually available when filing for a lawsuit. These are:

  1. General Damages
    1. Seeking a general damage usually gives the injured person a monetary compensation for his or her suffering, which was caused by the medical malpractice. This can be physical or mental pain, the loss of employment, or even the loss of the enjoyment of life.
  2. Special Damages
    1. Special damages seek to restitute an individual for other expenses linked to a medical malpractice incident. This can be compensation for time missed from work or the costs of medical expenses.
  3. Punitive Damages
    1. Punitive damages are intended to penalize a medical facility or a medical practitioner for any conduct that is egregious. While a punitive damage is rare in a medical malpractice claim, it can nonetheless punish those who acted carelessly.    

What happens if the medical malpractice victim has passed away?

In the event that the patient has passed away due to a medical malpractice incident, the victim’s heirs or other appropriate individuals may obtain restitution for their grievances. These damages can include the grievances sustained from the time of the injury until the time of the victim’s death and it may also include any future economic loss the appropriate party may have suffered due to the victim’s death.

If I had known of the risks associated with my medical procedure, I would not have agreed to the procedure. Can I sue for the risks I was not made aware of?

Generally, a medical practitioner must inform his or her patient of the serious risks that are involved in any medical procedure or even of medical treatments. This will give the patient the opportunity to responsibly decide whether or not he or she will go forward with the procedure. Suing for unknown risks can depend on what those risks were. Medical practitioners are legally not obligated to inform their patients of every risk involved in a procedure or treatment. They only have to discuss important or the greater risks. When deciding if the risk has validity, the following questions must be asked:

  1. Would another knowledgeable and experienced medical practitioner have disclosed the potential risk?
  2. Would another standard patient have made a different decision had the risk been disclosed?

There are other situations, usually emergency treatments, in which a medical practitioner is legally protected and thus not required to obtain consent from the patient before treating. If you are unsure if you have a case, seek a qualified medical malpractice attorney who can guide your claim.

What types of errors can add up to a medical malpractice case?

Medical malpractice usually happens when a person is injured or harmed because a medical professional failed to act competently under the conventional standards of the medical care. To be able to prove medical malpractice, a patient must be show that the medical professional was somehow negligent. There are also other factors that must be proven in a medical malpractice claim. This includes the existence of a doctor and patient relationship and what damages are linked to the resulting grievance.