Personal Injury Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a highly debated issue on a variety of professional, political, and personal fronts, but rightfully so. According to the United States district courts, there were 335,655 filings with courts, and of this number, personal injury medical malpractice claims accounted for nearly a fifth of all federal civil tort claims filed in the United States in 2007. These numbers do not even account for the bulk of personal injury medical malpractice claims that are litigated and settled at the level of local and state courts either. Any person seeking medical healthcare, in any form, can potentially fall victim to personal injury medical malpractice negligence. In fact, statistics indicate that personal injury medical malpractice instances of medication error alone, a small fragment of the category of medical malpractice, detrimentally afflicts over one and a half million patients annually. Clearly, taking in account these numbers, the vast majority of medical malpractice victims prove unaware or unwilling to pursue their rights to claims in the civil courts; however, this should never be the case. In fact according to law, patients have a legal right to compensation in the event their healthcare provider failed to provide medical examinations, prescriptions, treatments, or procedures in a manner consistent with the reasonable standard of care in their profession. This is one crucial element to proving the efficacy of a personal injury medical malpractice claim, which can be made against any healthcare professional or provider.



Some of the individuals that can be held liable for personal injuries stemming from medical malpractice include:

  • Dentists and dental assistants
  • Ophthalmologists and optometrists
  • Chiropractors
  • Rehabilitative professionals
  • Psychologists and psychiatrists
  • Physicians and physician assistants
  • Nurses
  • Interns
  • Pharmacists
  • Surgeons and surgical support staff

Aside from individual medical professionals, the employing entities and funding organizations can also be held liable for personal injuries in victims that stem from medical malpractice. These entities can include, but are not limited to, hospitals, healthcare groups, clinical firms, pharmacies, and even the federal government when it funds a healthcare provider or providers.



When seeking to retain damages from personal injury medical malpractice claims, victims and their legal counsel must implement a courtroom strategy that proves several vital elements. The burden of proving the guilty and negligent nature of defendant's is put on the plaintiff, or victims, in the event of a civil tort claims, therefore, having a personal injury lawyer specializing in medical malpractice cases is essential. Additionally, healthcare professionals insure themselves from medical malpractice claims by paying hefty premiums for medical malpractice liability insurance, which will provide defendant healthcare providers with an almost indefinite amount of legal representation and counsel in order to protect their own financial interests. However, for victims of personal injury medical malpractice, the letter of the law is on the plaintiff's side.



The first element that must be proven in a personal injury medical malpractice case is that the healthcare providers named by claimants must have had a legal obligation to care for victims. Known as legal duty of care, healthcare professionals take on this potential liability the moment they accept a patient for treatment, examination, or medical procedures. The second element, and arguably most subjective, is that by taking on this implied contract of offering a legal duty of care, the healthcare professionals must have acted in a manner that was within a reasonable standard of care for their profession. Any deviation or violation of this reasonable standard of care is known as negligence. To determine the reasonable standard of care in medical malpractice cases, expert witness testimony is necessary to provide a consensus on what is the level of reasonable standard of care, and whether or not defendant's breached this legal duty to offer a reasonable standard of care.



The third element is to prove the breach of the legal duty to offer a reasonable standard of care was the proximate cause of victim's injuries. A personal injury medical malpractice case will make the claims that injuries incurred while under the healthcare professional, as well as all related ensuing medical complications, were the direct result of the negligence of the defendant healthcare providers. In proving this third element, a fourth element of personal injury medical malpractice claims must be provided by victims and their legal counsel. The existence of damages is essential to being able to make a civil tort claim against defendants. Damages can include a number of items in the court of law, but in regards to personal injury medical malpractice cases, the damages sought are often compensatory and perhaps punitive.



Damages can include claims for the following detriments including:

  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of mobility
  • Medical expenses
  • Lowered quality of living
  • Physical, emotional, or psychological pain and suffering
  • Continued rehabilitation or medical costs
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Punitive damages are generally reserved for personal injury medical malpractice claims that exhibit a high level of recklessness, deliberateness, or gross manner of negligence by liable healthcare providers, or defendants. In the conclusion of a personal injury medical malpractice case, a judge or jury will assess the damages defendants are required to compensate victims for their losses and other items.



Do you feel you are the victim of personal injury medical malpractice? Contact a personal injury medical malpractice attorney to retain your legal right to compensation claims today.

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