Medical malpractice is a legal term used for poor quality, incorrect, or negligent medical care by a qualified medical professional that causes harm to a patient. Lately, cases involving medical mismanagement are on the rise owing to increased patient awareness and government legislation.
Leon Baker suffered a heart attack after his doctors administered the wrong drug during surgery. He filed a claim alleging medical negligence, which resulted in the award of £200,000 in cash. However, not all claims result in such hefty compensation amounts. In fact, the win rate for medical malpractice claims is much lower than that for road or workplace accidents. This is because in a majority of cases patients do not understand the complex procedures that are involved in filing such a claim.
The Personal Injury Valuation Handbook estimates that one in five of medical negligence claims involve death. However, statistics do not reveal the real cost for the patient as well as his or her family. Medical negligence not only causes irreparable physical damage to the patient but also leaves permanent mental scars. Moreover, the process of filing a claim is time-consuming and complex. Yet, some argue against the same laws that protect against faulty treatment. Here are some of the arguments:
o “Medical malpractice laws increase litigation and encourage fraudulent claims.” Not true. Research shows that the risk of fraud is minimal though not zero. The real problem, according to Tom Barker, author of The Medical Malpractice Myth, is too much medical malpractice. In fact, research has shown that a majority of such cases go unreported. Laws are necessary to safeguard the interests of the patient and make medical professionals responsible for their actions.
o “Some medical operations come with known risks for which doctors cannot be held guilty.” AND “It is not always possible to determine if the patient has adequately followed the doctor’s instructions.”
These arguments arise from a misunderstanding of the law. Medical malpractice works on the principle of causation, which means that it is not enough to say that the treatment was substandard or that it did not work. Patients also have to prove a cause-effect relationship between the medical professional’s poor performance and an undesirable result. This involves the role of an “expert witness” who provides expert medical testimony. The final judgement depends on whether the doctor did something inappropriate that most people in the medical profession would not have done.
Should I File a Claim?
Often, patients are unsure about filing a claim for compensation, as it is difficult to determine if something has gone wrong BECAUSE of poor treatment. If you feel that faulty treatment or misdiagnosis is to blame for your poor health, speak to another medical professional immediately.
If there is some evidence of medical malpractice, then contact a solicitor immediately, as all claims usually have a time limit ranging from one to four years. A qualified solicitor with relevant experience is the best person to guide you through the process of filing a claim.
Source by Diana Joseph