Understanding Medical Malpractice from a Legal Perspective

Medical negligence is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. But – how does one know that medical malpractice occurred?

What could be the potential difference between medical malpractice and a bad outcome or a medical procedure that just didn’t go as planned? Not every instance of a negative medical outcome is the result of medical negligence or malpractice.

Of course – a bad outcome can potentially suggest that there might have been medical negligence because medical surgeries and other procedures are not supposed to result in those types of medical complications.

This aspect perfectly explains why you should always relate your case to a professional injury lawyer, such as the top trial lawyer, Tad Thomas as the lawyer will consult with medical professionals to verify that medical malpractice did indeed occur.

After getting our facts, the personal injury lawyer will get in touch with a physician to review the medical records to determine whether or not the possibility exists that medical malpractice was committed and that the damage or injury caused to you was the outcome of the medical negligence.

Nonetheless, holding people accountable for their negligence is essential because if you don’t, the healthcare professionals will keep repeating the same mistakes.

What is Medical Malpractice from a Legal Perspective?

Most people think they know what medical malpractice means – but – from the legal perspective, medical malpractice is the deviation from the standard of care. Simply put – it is when a doctor or any other professional healthcare provider does something while treating them that a normal, reasonable doctor wouldn’t do.

Medical malpractice also incorporates the aspect where a healthcare provider might fail to do something that a normal doctor would have done in similar circumstances. So – it is medical negligence in terms of medical practice.

A common form of medical malpractice is the failure to diagnose the illness. Suppose a patient comes into the emergency room and complains about certain health issues. The doctor should be looking at something known as a differential diagnosis – which would include serious conditions.

Sometimes a doctor could miss the signs of serious conditions, which can then result in serious harm 0 even death.

Medical Malpractice and Health Insurance

At this point, you might be wondering about the possibility that if someone has good insurance – the doctor might run every possible test to diagnose the health issue accurately. But – if some patient perhaps doesn’t have health insurance, the doctor might skip a test or two.

And since they might miss a few tests – it could potentially result in something known as medical malpractice.

The thing is that we live in times where overbilling and over-testing aren’t really a thing anymore. There are instances where one might wish certain tests had been done – but the failure to do those tests can potentially result in serious harm.

Nonetheless – the possibility that someone with health insurance will get better treatment as compared to one without insurance cannot be ruled out. If someone cannot afford certain tests and hence does not get them done – it can potentially result in serious harm.

Medical Malpractice vs. Bad Outcome

As a patient who believes that they have endured medical negligence, you will want to understand the essential difference between medical negligence and a bad medical outcome.

The thing about medicine is that it is as much of an art as it is a science. And despite a doctor’s best effort and best of care – things can go wrong. We know how it goes – the best doctors in the world cannot save everyone – as unfortunate as it is.

You can have an instance where someone goes in for surgery and gets a serious infection – but we know that despite everyone’s best efforts – infections can occur in patients. Even the best radiology test in the world can miss certain conditions just because medicine and science haven’t reached the point yet where everyone hopes they will be.

With that said, if you suspect that you are the victim of medical malpractice, you will want to talk to a personal injury lawyer or an attorney specializing in medical negligence cases. Because not only can most people miss the essential difference between a bad outcome and medical negligence – but – even attorneys can too.

This aspect is one of the reasons that in many states, attorneys are required to have a healthcare professional – ideally a specialist – sign off on a medical malpractice case before they file a lawsuit for their client.

An attorney knows the law, but they are not a surgeon who knows what the standard of care in any given situation is – so the attorney will take the case where they aren’t sure whether it was a bad outcome or medical negligence to an expert witness and ask them about their opinion.

The surgeon or doctor from that field can then testify whether it has been a deviation from the standard of care or a case of a bad outcome. The healthcare professional is the one who can give the lawyer an honest opinion.

Suppose the healthcare professional comes back saying that the doctor in question did everything correctly and that the case doesn’t fall into the category of medical malpractice. In that case, the attorney will tell the client and dismiss the matter accordingly.

The Takeaway

You have to keep in mind that you cannot file a medical malpractice case without an expert witness signing off on it in advance, saying that they believe that the case is indeed a case of negligence.

This aspect is set in a way to protect the doctors and other healthcare professionals from frivolous lawsuits – but – it also protects the clients because everyone knows that medical malpractice lawsuits are expensive and they take time – often years – before they get to trial.

The lawyers also only proceed with the lawsuit when they are absolutely sure that they aren’t filing bad cases – they have their client’s best interest and their own best interest in mind by filing cases that are meritorious in pursuing justice on behalf of their clients.