Doctors and other health care professionals have a duty to their patients to do no harm. Doctors must accurately diagnose patients in a reasonable timeframe and develop treatment plans using scientifically supported methods. Medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers injury due to the actions of a doctor or other medical professional. Medical malpractice takes many forms, and it’s vital for victims to know their options for legal recourse and what to expect from a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Establishing Liability from Medical Malpractice Cases in Charleston
Medicine is uncertain by nature. Many diseases and conditions have symptoms that mirror those of other conditions, making correct diagnoses difficult in many situations. Doctors must use a process of elimination to determine the most likely causes of patients’ issues. Some patients are extremely difficult to diagnose, and many are even more difficult to properly treat, but doctors must make every effort to do so in good faith using treatments approved by the medical community.
Proving malpractice is similar to the process of proving negligence in other personal injury lawsuits. If you find yourself in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a reputable Charleston medical malpractice attorney can help guide you to a satisfactory result. First, your attorney must prove that you and the defendant had an official patient-doctor relationship. This is typically the least difficult factor to establish. Next, your attorney must prove the defendant was negligent in some way. Some examples of doctor and health care professional negligence include:
Failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis. Doctors must treat patients quickly while maintaining accuracy. This is often difficult, but doctors hold to higher standard of reasonable care than other individuals and thus have a duty to make every effort to fully and accurately diagnose their patients. A delayed diagnosis can exacerbate a patient’s condition, and an incorrect diagnosis can lead to improper treatment and additional injuries or illnesses.
Surgical errors. Surgeons sometimes leave medical devices and tools inside of patients after closing their surgical incisions. These devices can cause serious issues and necessitate additional surgeries.
Improper treatment. Doctors must use established and scientifically proven treatments for medical conditions. While some patients may display atypical symptoms or other variables, doctors must treat all patients in a manner consistent with what any other “reasonably skilled” doctor would in the same situation.
Failure to obtain informed consent. Patients have a right to know the details of their condition and treatment options. Doctors must fully inform patients of all risks and side effects associated with any treatment plan so patients can make informed decisions about their health. Some risks may deter patients from agreeing to certain treatments, so it is the doctor’s duty to make patients fully aware of all possible results.
Gross negligence. Although generally uncommon, gross negligence occurs when a doctor or healthcare professional makes an error that even an untrained individual could have noticed. An example could be a doctor reading a patient’s x-ray backward and amputating the wrong limb.
Winning Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Medical malpractice cases differ from other personal injury lawsuits in several ways. Most states have specific rules for filing medical malpractice lawsuits, and these cases typically hold to a shorter statute of limitations than other personal injury claims. The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is usually two years from the date of the incident or the date an injury or illness manifested (also known as the “date of discovery”). For medical malpractice claims, the statute of limitations may be as little as six months.
Medical malpractice claims must also often pass through special malpractice review panels before a lawsuit can proceed. These panels basically review the evidence of a case and any associated testimony from expert witnesses to determine whether or not malpractice occurred. Finally, medical malpractice claims must adhere to special notice requirements, and the plaintiff’s attorney must retain expert witnesses to testify in the case. Expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases generally testify as to whether or not the defendant’s actions were reasonable or ethical given the circumstances.
Charleston Medical Malpractice Lawyers – Free Consultations!
A Charleston medical malpractice lawyer can help you meet these special requirements and navigate your case to a successful conclusion. Medical malpractice often causes pain and suffering, additional medical procedures, and may even lead to permanent complications or disabilities. Health care professionals who harm their patients must take responsibility for their actions, and the HawkLaw Firm is proud to help injured patients secure compensation from negligent medical professionals. Reach out to our team to schedule a consultation about your medical malpractice case. Call us in Mt. Pleasant, SC today! (843) 737-9356
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