What would you do if the doctor made a mistake?
Your doctor is obviously someone who you trust; you put your health in their hands every time you visit them. You rely on them to make accurate diagnoses and to be professional. However, even someone you trust as much as your doctor can make a mistake, which, unfortunately, can have terrible consequences. If you think that your doctor has committed medical malpractice, then you may be eligible to use medical lawyers and fight for compensation.
If you think that you may be able to make a claim because you feel your doctor has committed medical malpractice then there are certain things that have to be established. The first thing that has to be ascertained with a case of medical malpractice is that the doctor made a mistake and their patient was harmed because of this. If both these elements are in place, then the doctor may have a case to answer.
Types of case
When a doctor is treating a patient, there is a generally accepted method of treatment, this is known as the standard of care. For example, if a patient has cancer, the standard of care for this particular illness is to remove the tumour with surgery, and a doctor would be expected to follow this guideline.
If you can prove that your doctor deviated from the standard of care for your particular case, then you may be able to make a claim against your doctor. However, you will have to prove that the treatment your doctor used actually caused you harm.
Medical negligence is when a doctor or other medical professional makes a mistake or omission at a time during treatment. This can start even before treatment, for example, if you have been misdiagnosed. This could lead you to taking unsuitable treatments for your illness.
You may also suffer physical damage as a result of a medical professional’s actions. This can include lack of action as well as direct injury from action. For example, during pregnancy the perineum, the area between the anus and sexual organs, can become stretched and tear causing damage and pain.
Physical trauma can be reduced with an episiotomy, a medical procedure to cut the area and reduce stress. However, if the medical professional supervising the birth fails to cut the perineum when it is obvious that this is the right course of treatment and a tear occurs then they could be liable to face a medical negligence claim.
With cases of medical malpractice the most significant thing is ‘causation’. This is the proof that a doctor’s mistake has caused a patient harm. This can be difficult to prove and will require at least one expert witness in court.
Even if your doctor has committed medical negligence or not followed accepted guidelines for treatment, you do not have a case unless you can prove that you were injured by their mistakes. Good examples of causation include brain damage after an operation, a condition getting worse after treatment or even death.
How to claim
You are usually given 3 years from the point of your injury to make a claim. However, time constraints are eliminated if the injury was suffered by someone while they were a child or if they were being treated under the mental health act.
If you think your doctor has a claim to answer, then the first thing that you need to do is to contact specialist lawyers. Medical lawyers have lots of experience of dealing with cases of medical malpractice and will be able to tell you if you have a case.
They will ask you to fill out a claim form. You should fill this out exactly as instructed and try to be as detailed as possible. If you keep a diary of how your injury has affected you, or how your treatment has made your condition worse it can make it easier to fill the claim form out thoroughly.
Once they have received your completed claim form, your team of medical lawyers will be able to decide if you have a case. In the event they think you don’t, you are normally not charged for their service. If they feel you may be able to make a claim they will pursue the correct legal avenues on your behalf. If the claim is not settled out of court you may be required to attend court.
When making a claim, you should be aware that court proceeding can take a long time and be costly so it may be some time before any compensation is paid out to you.