In personal injury law, “medical malpractice” is the term used to describe negligence committed by a professional health care provider. That is, a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital, or hospital worker whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice set for those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.
Most medical malpractice cases are based on the concept of negligence. That is, a patient was harmed because the health care provider failed to meet the required standards of skill and care. The prescribed standard of medical care may vary from state to state. Since health care providers cannot guarantee the results of medical treatment, a patient’s malpractice claim will not valid simply because his or her treatment was not successful. Instances of malpractice might include misdiagnosing an injury or illness because routine tests were not ordered or procedures were not followed, or prescribing a drug not approved for the patient’s condition. You should know however that proving a medical malpractice case at trial is very problematic since juries sympathize with doctors and are annoyed by high insurance rates which they believe are caused by too many lawsuits.
Each state has a law – known as the statute of limitations – that specifies a certain amount of time within which a claim may be filed. The purpose of the statute is to ensure that a claim is made while information relevant to the case is still available. If you think that you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should consult a personal injury lawyer who is knowledgeable about medical malpractice.