Personal injury lawyers know that hospital and nursing staff are legally required to treat their patients with more care than general employees and individuals. The reason why is because these professionals (hospital and nursing home staff) take care of the physical and mental health aspects of their patients. It’s possible to sue nursing home or hospital staff for malpractice if you can prove that the person was negligent.
What is medical malpractice?
Personal injury lawyers in Cambridge know that medical malpractice is a case that’s brought against a health professional for a breach of duty of care while attending to the health of a particular patient or group of patients.
The legal elements in medical malpractice
If you ask your personal injury lawyer what the legal elements of medical malpractice, you’ll get the following answer:
● Duty of care – the first thing you must prove is that the health professional had a duty of care towards a particular patient that was breached. This is generally easy to prove because of the contractual agreement that exists between the health professional and the patient. The issue arises when the health professional was an independent contractor. Then the hospital or nursing home can argue that there was no duty of care owed because the health professional was not a direct employee. Duty of care is defined according to the standards and type/quality of care that a reasonable person with the same education, qualifications, and experience would have provided in the same situation.
● Breach of duty – you must then prove that the health professional breached that duty of care. You can generally prove this if you have testimony from medical experts who can discuss and argue the ways in which the health care provided by the health professional and his or her performance was different from the standards required. A good example of this would be the failure to diagnose a particular condition or illness that a reasonable health professional would have been able to do in the same situation. Breach of duty also exists if the health professional made a mistake that a reasonable health professional would not have in the same situation. A good example of this would be operating on the wrong body part.
● Causation – if you want to win a settlement, either in court or out of court, you have to prove that the health professional’s breach of duty of care is what directly caused your injuries or current bad condition. You have to use medical malpractice law to prove that you would not have sustained your current injuries if the duty of care had not been breached. Since medicine is complex, you may have a hard time proving this even with a good legal team. A good example would be misdiagnosing someone with a rare congenital heart defect like TOF or TGA.
● Damages – you have no case if you didn’t suffer any monetary damages because of the breach of duty of care. Pain and suffering that’s documented by mental health professionals, additional doctor’s bills, income stubs from income lost from missed work, all serve as sufficient and acceptable proof.
Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that filing a medical malpractice lawsuit or claim will be a waste of your time if all of these elements are not present because you will not have a medical malpractice case or claim. Medical malpractice law is complex. You need a good personal injury lawyer if you want to have a shot at winning your medical malpractice case or claim either in or out of court.