What is Medical Malpractice and Do I Have a Case?
If you have suffered an injury—or further injury—while under the care of a doctor or other health care provider, you may be wondering if you are eligible for financial compensation through a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice is defined as harm caused by a medical professional or hospital’s failure to provide the patient with adequate care. However, just because your physician committed an error about your care, doesn’t amount to a lawsuit.
You must demonstrate the following elements to prove a medical malpractice claim:
- The existence of a relationship between a patient and doctor – A plaintiff can sue the physician who agreed to treat their ailment, which easily proves a doctor-patient relationship existed.
- The doctor was negligent – All health care providers owe each patient a duty of care by providing them with acceptable medical treatment according to the leaders in the health industry. To file a lawsuit, a plaintiff must show the physician caused injury in a manner a competent doctor would not have under similar circumstances.
- Negligence resulted in injury – A plaintiff must show the negligence or incompetence of the doctor “more like than not” directly caused the injury. This element can be difficult to prove since plaintiffs are typically already injured or ill, which is why it may be necessary to hire a medical expert to testify in court.
- The injury caused damages – A plaintiff must suffer harm to recover both economic damages (e.g. medical bills, lost earnings, or other out-of-pocket expenses) and noneconomic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium. In some cases, punitive damages are included when a physician’s conduct was grossly negligent.
Medical malpractice comes in various forms. Common examples include failure to properly diagnose an injury or symptom, failure to provide warning of potential risks, improper treatment, unnecessary surgery, poor aftercare, and premature discharge.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury caused by the negligence of a medical provider in New York City, contact Silbowitz, Garafola, Silbowitz, Schatz & Frederick, L.L.P. today and schedule a free consultation.