Medical Malpractice in Gainesville – Who is Liable??
Bill Allen | August 2, 2017 | Medical Malpractice Near Gainesville Florida
We trust our doctors with our lives. When we feel pain or uncertainty about our overall well-being, we visit a doctor to find out what’s wrong. But what if that doctor tells us the wrong thing and it leads us down a path to even more health problems? Can you hold that doctor liable for your misdiagnosis?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a blanket answer to this question. Medical malpractice is defined as when a hospital, doctor, or another medical professional, causes an injury to a patient through a negligent act or omission. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management. Because of this, it is not always easy to determine who is at fault. Depending on the specific situation, the care provider or doctor, the hospital, or another entity may be held responsible for an injury caused by their negligence. The term medical malpractice can be applied to anyone providing care within the medical scope of employment. This can include nurses, health care service providers, anesthesia providers, health care facilities, and even pharmaceutical companies.
There is no law that holds doctors or medical care providers responsible for any errors in diagnosis or treatment, but there is a way to hold them liable. In order to do so, you must be able to prove three main things:
- The doctor was negligent
A wrong diagnosis alone isn’t a case for negligence. Human error occurs often, and we can’t hold our doctors accountable for every wrongdoing that occurs under their care. But, if we can prove that a doctor did not act the way they were supposed to, acted carelessly, or didn’t provide necessary information or proper treatment, there is a chance they can be held liable.
- The misdiagnosis caused harm
Even if you can prove the above, if a misdiagnosis did not cause any harm, you most likely won’t have a case. Harm can be in the form of a more intense surgical procedure that would not have been needed had the doctor diagnosed the patient correctly, or in the form of anxiety or expenses that came about due to a wrong diagnosis.
- There was a doctor-patient relationship
This one is simple, but must not be forgotten when compiling a claim. Be sure you can prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship with your physician. In the most basic sense, this means that they have directly examined you as your hired doctor in a medical setting.
How Can Hospitals Be Responsible for Malpractice?
Hospitals can either be directly liable for their own actions, or they can be held “vicariously” liable for the negligent actions of an employee. Vicarious liability is when an entity is held liable for the actions or negligence of another. Because hospitals can have a very large number of employees within their organization, they are expected to make reasonable inquiries to ensure applicants have the necessary credentials and licensing. If they do not, and they hire someone who does not have proper licensing or education, and that person injures a patient, the hospital can be held liable under the “corporate negligence” doctrine.
Hospitals are required to ensure there are enough registered nurses available to see to patient needs and maintain a standard of care. If a hospital does not adequately provide enough staff members to provide that standard of care and a patient is injured as a result, this can be considered malpractice.
Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor who is reckless, negligent, and fails to perform his or her medical duties. That isn’t to say, however, that every situation involving a complication or worsening condition is grounds for a medical malpractice suit. In this blog, we explain the most basic elements to a medical malpractice claim.
Establishing a Doctor-Patient Relationship
One of the first things that must be determined is that a doctor-patient relationship existed – in other words, you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to treat you for your condition. This element of a medical malpractice case is fairly obvious, and therefore easy to prove in court.
Proving the Doctor Acted Negligent
Being unhappy or unsatisfied with your treatment is not grounds for a medical malpractice suit. You have to be able to show that not only was the doctor negligent, but that negligence directly caused you harm and suffering. In some cases, this can be easy to prove – if a surgeon amputates the wrong limb or performs a procedure on the wrong part of your body, for example. Proving negligence can become more difficult if the patient in question had a preexisting condition, such as cancer, which could have been responsible for their death or suffering.
At this point in the process, you’ve determined that there was a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor acted negligently, and his or her negligence was a direct cause of your harm. You now must prove that your harm and suffering is eligible for financial compensation. You have to place a value on your damages, which can be hard if your harm cannot be quantified. Hospital bills and visits have an exact cost, but pain and suffering, along with other forms of mental anguish do not.
Experienced Attorneys in Ocala
If you are a victim of medical malpractice, you must file your case quickly. Medical malpractice cases are usually only valid between six months and two years after the injury—so don’t wait. Whether you are filing a claim due to a wrong, missed, or delayed diagnosis, or feel your doctor failed to diagnose all of your health problems, contact the Ocala medical malpractice attorneys at Allen Law. Our family-friendly approach will help you feel cared for as you take care of yourself during this difficult time.
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