Medical Malpractice is something everyone is aware of from television but few truly understand what it means. However, it is important for anyone undergoing a surgical procedure to understand what medical malpractice is and how it is dealt with by the courts. Doctors who commit medical malpractice aren’t just doing poorly at work, they’re harming their patients so it is especially important for average citizens to report all instances of medical malpractice.
When suing for medical malpractice, one of the first things a plaintiff will have to prove is that they were indeed patients of the doctor or the hospital. This is usually verified instantly and should be rather obvious to the courts as to whether it is true or not. Next, plaintiffs will have to show the ways the defendant failed in their duty to provide proper care. This is either obvious (scissors left inside of a surgical incision) or will require the testimony of an expert witness.
Expert witnesses are confirmed by the court during questioning. To qualify as an expert witness in a medical malpractice case, they will have to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and experience on the subject. Once this has been established, the court will confirm them as an expert witness and allow them to state their opinions on what might have caused the medical malpractice.
It is important to remember that medical malpractice can only be brought to court for negligent care that causes injuries to the patient. It does not have to be the doctor to cause the injuries. Nurses, the hospital, lab techs, or any cog in the wheel that provides patients their care are all liable. Any injury caused by failure to provide proper medical care could qualify as medical malpractice.
Once medical malpractice has been proven in a court of law, the jury will award damages. Damages are tabulated to reimburse both physical and emotional pain, as well as any loss of income or expenses that resulted due to the malpractice. Especially reckless or dangerous behavior on the part of the defendant will also result in punitive damages. Punitive damages are not contingent on any pain or suffering on the part of the plaintiff, but to punish particularly poor behavior.
Most doctors perform their job with utmost professionalism, but if you ever find yourself on the wrong end of medical malpractice, be sure to consult an attorney immediately. A practiced attorney can easily help a potential client understand whether their claim is actionable or not.