Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider has neglected their role in providing the treatment and care needed, resulting in further injury.
Like any other civil case, medical malpractice takes time to settle. Some prerequisites must be established. Furthermore, there are substantive and procedural differences between states. This guide will answer general questions about medical malpractice and more specific queries like how long does a medical malpractice lawsuit take in San Diego or any parts of the US.
Essentially, medical malpractice revolves around the concept of negligence. It can occur in the process of diagnosis, medication prescriptions, health management advice or programs, providing treatment, and even in aftercare processes.
It is essential to recognize that healthcare workers and facilities must follow specific ethical and professional standards in performing their duty. If they fail to follow these standards, they can be guilty of medical malpractice. Below are some of the common medical malpractice examples.
- Diagnostic errors: This includes failing to recognize symptoms or making a delayed or inaccurate diagnosis.
- Treatment failure: This could be missing necessary medical procedures, overlooking patient medical history, early discharge, or failure to provide follow-up care.
- Anesthetic errors: This usually occurs before, during, or after surgery – it covers non-disclosure of essential details or administering the wrong type of anesthesia.
- Surgical errors: This refers to non-compliance with existing standards, removing or working with the wrong body part, leaving medical tools inside the patient.
It also includes other errors due to negligence from specialized forms of care such as childbirth, dentistry, chiropractic, and even medical prescriptions.
By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, patients or their families can recover compensation for the otherwise avoidable harm or injury resulting from the substandard medical care they received.
How long does it take?
There is no definite answer to how long it takes to receive compensation for a medical malpractice case. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the average time was five years, reviewing a sample of 1452 malpractice claims from five liability insurers.
Despite having legal guidelines, there is no fixed point in a lawsuit procedure that defines when a medical malpractice claim has been settled. In reality, both parties can reach out for a settlement proposal at any point in the process. Negotiations even happen multiple times as the lawsuit moves forward.
Essentially, the more complex a medical malpractice case is, the longer it takes to prove and makes it even longer to receive compensation. There has to be a review of the complexity and novelty of the medical problems and the legal issues involved. Additionally, there are usually many witnesses that have to be taken in for their testimonies, as well as health care providers.
There are cases where the healthcare provider and the aggrieved party agree to settle even before medical malpractice is filed. Alternatively, they can opt for settlement agreements during the trial or even after a resolution has been handed down.
Factors involved in a medical malpractice case
According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), several factors must be considered before a medical malpractice case is filed:
Violating the standard of care
This stems from the fact that medical standards are also recognized by the law, known as the Standard of Care. If the plaintiff believes that this standard is not met, negligence may be established.
Injury caused by negligence
A mere violation of the standard of care is insufficient to support a malpractice claim. However, proving that an injury was otherwise avoidable with proper care is often acceptable. It is important to note that an unfavorable outcome from a medical procedure is not malpractice per se, making it vital to establish that the injury comes from negligence.
Significant damages from the injury
Filing for medical malpractice is laborious and expensive, requiring witnesses and expert medical opinion. Another test for the viability of a claim is to see if the injury resulted in significant damages. Verifiable damages include disability, loss of income, persisting and unusual pain, suffering or hardship, or significant medical bills otherwise avoidable.
A medical malpractice case is a long and arduous journey. This is why you need the services of a legal team that you can rely on. If you’ve been through a medical dilemma and you need someone reliable to represent you in court, contact a reliable attorney immediately to make sure you’d get the compensation you deserve.