November 14, 2016
A medical malpractice claim is a negligence claim brought against the caregiver such as doctors, nurses, or emergency medical technicians. It applies to the individuals involved in your care. While there are three main components to a medical malpractice case, a Medical Malpractice case consists of different elements that must be proven in any one malpractice case. Elements of a medical malpractice case include: (1) Duty, (2) Breach of that Duty, (3) Causation and (4) Damages. While there are four elements of a medical malpractice claim, duty to care for a patient is pretty straightforward, therefore for this article the other three become the main components of a medical malpractice claim.
Breach of duty is fairly easy to prove. The caregiver had a duty to provide the care to the patient and failed to do so. In other words the caregiver failed to do what a competent caregiver would have done under the circumstances. Determining that breach is compared to standards of care for different the different categories of caregivers. The standards of care will provide a baseline to compare the particular caregivers actions or inactions. If the standard of care dictates certain steps and this particular caregiver failed to implement these steps then they fell below the standard of care and can be deemed negligent.
Being found negligent doesn’t automatically create a successful medical malpractice claim. You must have the three main components to a medical malpractice case to create a potential claim. Numerous scenarios involve a breach of duty that caused some form of injury or discomfort but without the requisite serious damages a successful medical malpractice claim fails. Damages include injury, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress that occur as a result of the negligence. It is this last component of the three main components of a medical malpractice case where most claims fail.
In many instances the damages are so small the case becomes one of economics. In other words, experiencing a bad outcome does not necessarily mean you have a medical malpractice claim. It is just simply not enough that a mistake in your care was made. The three main components of a medical malpractice claim may exist, but it costs a tremendous amount to pursue a medical malpractice claim. In reality, unless the damages portion outweighs the cost of a medical malpractice case, it will not be feasible to pursue. All elements must be present, otherwise you have not sufficiently proven the three components of a medical malpractice claim.
The insurance companies vehemently defend these types of cases from the beginning. It would not be cost effective to pursue a claim where the cost of the claim would outweigh any potential settlement proceeds. Medical malpractice are very difficult and convoluted cases, it is not the type of case that an inexperienced lawyer should take on. The insurance company will defend these to the bitter end. That is why it is important to retain an experienced medical malpractice lawyer Little Rock AR trusts who knows all the ins and outs and the tricks of the trade. Therefore, even if you have all three main components of a medical malpractice claim, you still may not have a viable case due to the economics.
Thanks to our friend and contributor from the Law Offices of Lisa Douglas, Inc. for their insight into medical malpractice.