Medical malpractice is a constantly evolving area of law and practice because the fields that are involved- medicine and medical care- are also evolving. There are radical new inventions that shape and reshape the contours of medical practice such as healthcare reform and robotic surgery. However, some things stand-out as general principles, six things one should know about medical malpractice.
A Complicated Field
According to Tony Zuber & Paul Brioux, the first thing one should know about medical malpractice is that it is a complicated area of the law. It requires scientific data, records analysis, as well as testimony to establish the actors, and the parts they play, in providing medical treatment. The field involves many layers of action and legal responsibility.
The second thing one should know about medical malpractice cases, is that it requires a thorough investigation. Based upon a preliminary understanding about the persons involved, one must investigate the total circumstances. Every aspect must be examined both for human, systemic, and machine failures. A case involving an individual may grow to involve thousands of people, for example, an operating room machine that fails to measure body temperature during surgery accurately.
The third thing one should know is that an expert opinion is needed to establish the duty of care, and whether some party failed to meet it. This is a critical element in the case. The expert deposition is an important event in the case; it announces firm evidence that someone has failed to meet the standard of care.
Cause of Injury
The fourth thing one must know is that once expert testimony establishes a standard of care, and a failure to meet it; one must show that the failure caused the injury. The connection between fault and injury is the essence of a medical malpractice case. There are defenses available and many revolve around this question, whether there was a connection between the injury and the conduct or failure to act.
Recovery for Losses
The fifth thing one should know is that one can recover money for economic and non-economic losses. Physical and emotional pain and suffering are the important part of the case. Even a few seconds of emotional suffering have immense potential impact on the case, such as in a case brought under a state wrongful death statute.
The last thing one should know about medical malpractice that experience matters. One should consult an experienced malpractice attorney for the best likelihood of a positive outcome. The basis for this view is that experienced practitioners are valuable resources for the injured person and or their survivors because they have successfully managed trials or settlements.