When we’re sick, we expect our doctors to take reasonable action and to take care of us. We put our trust in their abilities to make us feel well again. However, some physicians can take advantage of our faith and commit negligence. That said, not all cases of perceived wrongdoing necessarily indicate medical malpractice. How do you know what is honest human error and what is something more?
What Is Medical Malpractice?
We most often think of doctors committing medical malpractice, but the truth is, any medical professional can be found guilty of it, from nurses to physician’s assistants. In order to win a medical malpractice suit, you have to prove:
- The medical professional made a mistake, either by treatment or omission; and
- You were harmed as a direct result of that mistake
As you can see from the definition, medical malpractice cases can sometimes be difficult to pursue. As with most legal cases, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim.
Types of Medical Malpractice
There are two types of cases we generally can pursue. The first deals with medical negligence. This occurs when your doctor doesn’t adhere to what’s known as a “standard of care.” For example, imagine for a moment that you were recently diagnosed with high cholesterol. The standard of treatment would be to prescribe you a medication known as a statin. If your physician fails to provide you with the prescription, and you suffer from a heart attack or stroke, he or she has committed medical negligence.
The second type of malpractice is damage or injury. A common example of this would be if a surgeon amputates the wrong limb, or you suffered brain damage after an operation.
Reporting Medical Malpractice
If you suspect you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, your gut reaction may be to complain to the hospital that was responsible for your care. However, this isn’t necessarily the right move. Complaining to the hospital gets their legal counsel involved, and they might try to low-ball you or bully you into a settlement that’s less than you deserve. If you want to report medical malpractice, you have a couple of options:
- Report the incident to the state’s medical complaint board. Medical professionals are bound by strict codes of conduct and these boards exist to maintain this code. You don’t need extensive medical knowledge to file. Simply provide as much information about your case as you can. This should open an investigation into the matter.
- Consult a medical malpractice or personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable West Virginia medical malpractice lawyer can help you file the report and can provide you with valuable advice during the process. For example, you can’t give specifics about your case to other parties as it may lead to your claim being dismissed.
If you suspect you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, file a report as soon as you are able. The longer you wait, the less likely your complaint will result in a positive outcome.
Choosing the Right Legal Representation
When it comes to choosing a medical malpractice lawyer, you need an aggressive team willing to fight for your rights. Hospitals are large entities with big budgets to spend on their own representation. Tiano O’Dell, PLLC hires esteemed medical professionals to assist in the discovery phase and presentation of your case. We’re proud of our record in reaching acceptable settlements out-of-court, but we’re willing to take your case to trial, if necessary. We don’t charge you any legal fees unless you win, so there’s no risk to you. If you feel you’ve been the victim of negligence, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney in West Virgina.