We often have little choice but to trust our doctors when we need medical treatment. When we take this leap of faith we usually receive great medical care. Indeed, most doctors go their entire careers without a medical mishap. However, when medical mistakes are made, the stakes are high—they can result in loss of life or permanent disability.
Health care providers have a duty to ensure that the care they provide is proper. If their failure to provide proper care causes a patient to suffer injury, then the patient can commence a medical malpractice lawsuit.
A medical malpractice lawsuit can be commenced against any type of health care provider, including a family doctor, specialty practitioner, nurse, dentist, chiropractor, pharmacist, medical technician, hospital or clinic.
There are basically two types of medical malpractice cases:
- cases claiming that the health care provider was negligent by providing improper care, and
- cases claiming that the health care provider failed to secure a patient’s informed consent prior to providing treatment. In other words, the doctor failed to properly inform the patient of the risks, benefits and alternative options prior to treatment. A patient cannot give informed consent to undergo medical treatment until the doctor has provided this information.
The test for determining if a medical mistake amounts to negligence is if the standard of care provided by the doctor falls below the standard that doctors in the same field and community are expected to meet. In other words, a doctor won’t be found negligent if other doctors in the same medical field, practicing in the same community, might have provided the same medical treatment.
Patients who suffer serious injuries from medical malpractice can recover compensation for their losses, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Income losses, past and future
- Future health care and attendant care needs
- Past and anticipated future expenses
It can be difficult for people to identify if they’ve suffered illness or injury due to medical malpractice. If you think you may be a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will want to take immediate steps to preserve evidence and ensure that developments are properly documented from the very start. This is important because it can be difficult to gather evidence and prove your case after an extended period of time has passed. People’s memories fade with time and documents are lost. There are also strict limitation periods you need to be aware of which can severely restrict your ability to recover compensation.
If you think you’ve been injured by the mistake of a health care provider, we invite you to contact us and speak with one of our lawyers. We’ll assess if you may have a medical malpractice case and we’ll take the time to explain your rights, options and what you can expect if you choose to commence a medical malpractice lawsuit.