Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice occurs when negligence or intentionally wrongful conduct causes injury and damages to a patient by a doctor or other healthcare provider. Malpractice may not always result from harmful intentions and can be the result of lack of competence or failure in carrying out all the prudent responsibilities of proper care.
The laws governing medical malpractice lawsuits vary from state to state. In particular the laws in some states, including in West Virginia, require the patient to notify the doctor of allegations of malpractice and a potential suit, prior to and as a prerequisite to filing an actual lawsuit. Nonetheless, there are some general outlines and patterns that hold true for all authentic medical malpractice claims. The basic requirements for a medical malpractice claim are mentioned below.
- Record of doctor-patient relationship- This is basically to validate that the doctor charged with the case was indeed hired by the patient and that the doctor willfully agreed to offer his services. There should be prescription records and other medical documents attesting to this fact. One cannot sue a doctor based on advice overheard in public life such as friendly meet-ups and parties. Any indirect method of treatment is does not constitute as a valid claim for medical malpractice.
- Negligence on behalf of the doctor- Just a general sense of dissatisfaction with the doctor’s service cannot constitute medical malpractice. There must be specific cases of negligence from the doctor during diagnosis and treatment. The patient must be able to pinpoint the exact harm caused by the doctor’s negligence and how another competent doctor could do better in similar circumstances. It is important to keep in mind that the doctor is actually not under any obligation to provide pitch-perfect services. The criteria here is defined as reasonably “skillful and careful.” This definition is the main premise of any medical malpractice claim. Most states require the patient to present a report by an expert medical examiner which explains the correct standards of medical practice that should have been followed and how the defending doctor failed to follow the right protocols.
- Injury caused by a doctor’s negligence- The condition of the patient can often get worse even after receiving the care and treatment from the doctors. Here the case can be an honest deterioration of the patient’s condition or the damage could have been caused by the doctor’s malpractice. Here a case must be established that the extra damage was indeed caused by the doctor’s negligence. Medical experts are usually called to testify in such cases where there is a chance of harm caused by the doctor.
- Identification of specific harm or damage- The doctor can offer a substandard service and still not be eligible for a medical malpractice suit if there was no actual harm caused. There are various categories of damage for which the patient can sue the doctor. Some of these categories are- excessive physical pain which could have been avoided, mental trauma or despair, charging additional bills for irrelevant procedures and treatment resulting in loss of work or earning capability. Added to this, there can also be a failure of diagnosis due to negligence or a failure to warn the patients of the risks involved in the process.
Should You Contact A Lawyer?
Unfortunately, except in some rare cases, you will most often require the assistance of a competent medical malpractice attorney West Virginia trusts to help you navigate your way through the handling of a medical negligence case. Contact a law office today to discuss your legal options and if you have a strong case.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Adams Legal Group, PLLC for their insight into medical malpractice injuries.