Three Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Claims
When you go to a hospital to seek medical treatment or undergo surgery, you expect to receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, many people end up suffering harm at the hands of physicians, doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals. When this happens, filing a medical malpractice claim may be an option to hold negligent medical professionals accountable and seek proper compensation for all the damages you have suffered.
Determining whether you have a viable medical malpractice case may require professional help from an attorney. Our medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeff Martin have decades of experience in the field and use our vast resources to help clients pursue favorable outcomes in med-mal cases.
Reach out today with any questions you may have. We represent injured patients and families of those killed due to medical errors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and other parts of Eastern Oklahoma, including Muskogee, McAlester, and Bartlesville.
Understanding Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider makes an error that results in the patient’s injury or death.
However, not all medical errors constitute medical malpractice. Under the law, a medical provider can be sued for medical malpractice when it can be proven that their actions deviated from the “accepted standards of care,” which refers to the degree of care a reasonable and prudent medical provider would exercise under the circumstances.
3 Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims
While there are many possible causes for medical malpractice lawsuits, some of them are more common than others:
Diagnosis errors. Errors related to diagnosis are among the most prevalent and dangerous ones. Without a proper and timely diagnosis, a patient may not receive the correct treatment at the right time, which can worsen their condition or even put their life at risk. Generally, diagnosis errors are broken down into two categories: misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose. While misdiagnosis refers to providing the wrong diagnosis, failure to diagnose means that a medical provider is not able to diagnose any condition.
Treatment errors. Medical providers must choose the right treatment plan based on the diagnosis, symptoms, and other facts. Unfortunately, a medical provider may fail to treat a patient the right way, which can make their condition worse or result in the loss of precious time.
Surgical errors. Last but not least, patients may suffer harm when undergoing surgery. Depending on the type of surgery and the severity of the error, a deviation from accepted surgical practices can result in debilitating injuries or even death.
When any form of medical malpractice occurs, the patient may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit against the liable parties. If the plaintiff wins a medical malpractice lawsuit, they can be awarded compensation in the form of “damages.” The laws in most states recognize three types of damages in med-mal cases: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Our skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeff Martin can help you go over your options if you or your loved one has been harmed due to a medical error or negligence.
What Your Medical Malpractice Claim Needs to Prove
When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, the state’s courts have held that the plaintiffs' claims must meet four elements to be successful:
The existence of a doctor-patient relationship between the parties;
There was a medical standard of care under the circumstances in which the patient received medical care;
The medical provider’s conduct fell below the established standard of care; and
The medical provider’s deviation from the standard of care resulted in harm to the patient.
Testimony from expert medical witnesses is often required to prove the above-mentioned elements. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeff Martin can review the facts of your case and help you understand whether your situation justifies filing a medical malpractice claim. We can also help you find medical experts who would be willing to testify to prove and/or strengthen your case.
All medical malpractice cases have a statute of limitations, which refers to a deadline for filing a lawsuit to recover damages. In Oklahoma, there is a two-year time limit for all medical malpractice cases. The clock starts ticking on the date the injury occurred or, if the injury could not have been discovered right away through the exercise of reasonable diligence, from the date it was discovered.
Who Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?
Generally speaking, any medical professional can be named as the “defendant” in a medical malpractice case if there is evidence that they deviated from the accepted standards of care within their medical community. Possibly liable medical professionals include doctors, nurses, surgeons, therapists, pharmacists, psychologists, and others.
In addition to filing a lawsuit against individual medical professionals, the injured patient or the surviving family members of a deceased patient can sue the hospital that employs the negligent doctor under the respondeat superior principle.
Enlist Trusted Legal Guidance
Medical malpractice claims can be complex and difficult to prove, even if you believe your case falls into one of the causes mentioned above. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeff Martin understand the complicated issues involved when filing medical malpractice claims and seeking maximum compensation on behalf of patients and their families. Get in touch today to set up a consultation with our attorneys and discuss your particular case.