Can You Sue? What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice and Covid-19
Although Covid-19 deeply traumatized communities around the world, it affected some people far worse than others. Some of those patients—many of whom suffered in hospitals during the pandemic—now have questions about medical malpractice and Covid-19.
Can you sue your doctor for their Covid-19 treatment? What are your chances?
Here’s what you need to know and how to approach a potential medical malpractice claim.
Standard of Care and Covid-19
Covid-19 medical malpractice claims will, frankly, be much harder to pursue than other malpractice claims. That’s because of something called “standard of care.”
In medical malpractice, you need to identify the standard of care for your particular health situation and show how your doctor or medical institution violated that standard. In other words, how did your doctor behave differently than the norm? What did they do that most doctors would never have done, or vice versa?
Covid-19 complicates that question for a few reasons:
- The virus is/was so new that doctors were learning on the job every day.
- Overloaded, stressed institutions struggled under the sheer amount of patients.
- Juries and judges may empathize with these first responders, as many attempted to do their jobs within very difficult and confusing circumstances.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have a case; however, you may find your attorney has concerns about your chances. That said, there are some specific exceptions.
When Doctors Violate the Covid Standard of Care
For a medical malpractice and Covid-19 case, you will have to prove your health care provider failed to treat you with the same level of care other doctors could and would give their patients at the time. First, let’s look at what this doesn’t include.
Because of the chaotic nature of how Covid impacted medical facilities, there are some things that might count as evidence of malpractice in other situations that likely wouldn’t pass the test for Covid. Examples could include:
- Long waits in crowded Covid wings of the hospital
- Inability to attend to you as quickly as you want or even, in some cases, need
- Frustration, anger, or impatience from hospital staff
- Denying you time with family or other visitors
- Not giving you certain experimental treatments, even upon request
- Refusing care to patients who violate hospital Covid policies
- and more.
However, some situations would apply because they were the absolute standard of care at the time.
For example, let’s say you arrive for a prenatal appointment in the maternity wing and comply with all Covid policies about masking, etc. Rather than taking you to a secure room, they knowingly put you in a wing where you are exposed to Covid patients. Your infection increases your pregnancy risks and ultimately harms you or your baby. This might qualify as malpractice.
As another example, perhaps you arrive at a doctors’ office with Covid symptoms looking for help. Rather than test you for Covid or refer you to someone who will, they tell you it isn’t Covid and send you home to an immunocompromised family member, who you then infect. Something like this might qualify if the damage caused real harm that you can prove.
In other words, your case will depend on the provider doing something very unusual that caused serious, provable injuries to you or your loved one.
Find a Great Memphis Medical Malpractice Attorney
Whether your claim involves Covid-19 or another condition, the first step in any medical malpractice claim is to speak with an attorney.
Our Memphis medical malpractice lawyers offer free consultations to help you figure out your options. We will look at your case and let you know what we think about your chances.
We fight for our clients like they’re our own family, and we don’t win a thing unless we win your case. If we take your case, it’s because we believe in you and your claim and will defend you every step of the way.
There’s no harm in talking with our attorneys about your situation. To get started, just fill out the form on this page or give us a call at 901-327-2100.