The majority of doctors devote themselves to healing and saving others. Most doctors do everything in their power to provide quality medical care for their patients, but sometimes they make mistakes. Some mistakes are harmless enough, some aren’t so harmless, and some are downright reckless.

How do you know if the injury you’ve suffered because of a healthcare professional’s medical care amounts to a mistake or to medical malpractice? There are some ways to tell. Read on to learn more.

How to Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case

The difference between malpractice and an unfortunate mistake is not always easy to see.

However, in cases of gross negligence, you should be able to tell right away if you have a malpractice case. For example, when a doctor operates on the wrong knee, that mistake would likely be considered malpractice. If a doctor operates on you while intoxicated, that would be considered malpractice.

Not every case is so clear, unfortunately. Because it can be difficult to tell whether your injury was medical negligence or an unfortunate mistake, laws have been put in place that outline the elements that must be present for your case to be deemed medical malpractice.

Elements of a Malpractice Case

The following are the elements of a medical negligence case that must be present for your case to be considered malpractice.

Duty of Care

The first element is duty of care. This means that there was doctor-patient relationship established, and that the doctor was committed to treating you for an injury or illness in a professional capacity.

Breach of Duty

The second element is that some kind of breach of duty occurred. For instance, the doctor failed to diagnose your illness, which led to you being harmed.

Injuries Caused by Breach

A mistake is not a breach of duty, even if it could have harmed you. If you weren’t harmed, you don’t have a malpractice case. For instance, if your doctor prescribed you the wrong medication, but you caught the mistake before taking a medicine that might have harmed you, then you don’t have a case.

Measurable Damages

The final element is that you suffered actual damages because of your medical injury. Your illness must have been exacerbated, or you must have been injured, and your health must have been harmed because of the mistake.

If you believe your case contains the above-discussed elements of a malpractice case, you should speak to a lawyer right away.

Reach Out to a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Illinois

Medical malpractice cases are more difficult to handle than other types of personal injury cases. Doctors, in general, have some immunity from being sued, because they shouldn’t be held liable for mistakes that another doctor might have also made.

It’s only malpractice if you can prove that the care you received was not in line with what other medical professionals consider normal or appropriate for the given situation, and you were harmed because of that poor treatment.

For more information, or to speak to a medical negligence lawyer about your case, call Lane & Lane, LLC at 312-332-1400. You can also reach us through the form below. A free case assessment is yours, so you have nothing to lose by reaching out.

Despite their best efforts, sometimes doctors make mistakes.  And even though we expect a certain standard of care from health care professionals, there are times when they fall short.  While they can’t cure everything, a physician is expected to maintain a certain standard of care.  When that standard falls short and results in harm to a patient, that patient can seek damages for medical malpractice.

A medical malpractice lawyer has several possible avenues to recover damages for a plaintiff.  Most of these center around proving negligence on the part of the medical professional who was treating the patient.  To establish negligence, it must be proven that:

  • There was an existing doctor/patient relationship and therefore the doctor owed a duty to that patient
  • There is an appropriate standard of care and the doctor deviated from that standard of care, breaching a duty to the patient.
  • There is a direct connection between that deviation and the injuries suffered by the patient.
  • There was actual injury to the patient.

The key to proving negligence is proving what standard of care exists, and then proving that standard was compromised by the defendant.

While a doctor may be at the center of a malpractice suit, it is not uncommon for makers of prescription medications or medical devices to be sued for malpractice as well.  This can only happen if the pharmaceutical maker or the device manufacturer failed to warn users of potential side effects of a drug or use of a medical device.  A physician is considered a “learned intermediary” in these instances because they are supposed to have been given enough information to determine if a drug or device was appropriate for the patient’s use.

Another possible way to prove malpractice is if a doctor does not provide informed consent to a patient.  In this instance, a doctor has the duty to tell a patient all the benefits, risks and alternatives involved in a procedure or in the use of a drug or device.  Written consent by the patient is always needed prior to administering treatment.

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