Medical errors — incorrect treatment, failure to diagnose a condition, and other mistakes — affect many individuals every year. If a physician or medical provider is negligent and causes harm to a patient, this is called medical malpractice.
Elements of a medical malpractice claim
To pursue a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff must be able to prove four elements of the case:
- Duty: Duty is typically established when a medical professional is in charge of giving a patient any assessment, treatment, or care. The duty itself relates to the obligation to act in accordance with a relevant standard of care.
- Breach: The plaintiff must show that the health care practitioner violated the applicable standard of care. The standard of care considers factors such as the expertise the doctor should possess, among other things. The question is: What would a reasonable medical provider in the same situation do and did the healthcare provider deviate from that standard?
- Causation: The health care provider’s breach of the duty of care owed to the patient must have been the cause or a significant contributing factor to the injury sustained by the patient. This might have been due to, among other things, an aggravation of a preexisting condition or the emergence of a new medical concern in the patient.
- Damages: The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the medical provider’s negligence caused them to suffer losses or harm — additional medical treatment, permanent injuries or complications.
Some examples of medical malpractice are:
- Surgical errors
- Inaccurate diagnoses
- Missed diagnoses
- Delayed diagnoses
- Incorrect prescriptions
The statute of limitations, or deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, under Connecticut law, is two years from the date of the malpractice. It’s important to keep this in mind in determining whether to pursue a possible case.
Legal consequences of medical malpractice
Medical malpractice victims have the right to pursue financial compensation from all responsible parties, including:
- Any past and future medical expenses
- Cost of recovery and revision of medical procedures
- Wages lost and potential income loss
- Nursing and disability aid
- Pain and suffering, including mental anguish and trauma-related stress
Medical malpractice claims are difficult to navigate. You must first be able to determine whether your case meets the four components of medical malpractice to hold a negligent practitioner or facility liable. Once you have a good understanding of your case, you can look into one or more legal avenues to hold the guilty party or parties responsible and obtain the compensation you deserve.