Frequently Asked Questions
When the professionals relied upon to provide medicine and health care to their patients act negligently or recklessly, conditions may become worse and injuries may ensue. Medical malpractice is a complicated and difficult area of personal injury law and if you suspect you are a victim of malpractice, it is likely that you have a number of questions. Below is a list of frequently asked medical malpractice questions. The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Ward Smith, PLLC want to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries, so call our office if you have more questions about your situation specifically and how we can help you file a claim.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a form of professional negligence that occurs when a healthcare provider fails to perform at the standard of care required of his or her profession. It is a special area of personal injury law specific to negligence that is committed by a medical professional to the detriment of his or her medical patient.
How do I know if medical malpractice occurred?
Because medicine does not claim to be a perfect science, not all medical shortfalls constitute medical malpractice. This makes it difficult to determine whether a mistake was due to negligence or to some other unforeseen and uncontrolled circumstances. While there are instances when medical malpractice is obvious, such as amateur administrative mistakes that lead to the wrong surgical procedure, most medical malpractice cases are not so clear. If you suspect that your medical provider did not follow standard procedure and you were injured as a result, it may be helpful to contact a personal injury attorney to delve deeper into the question of whether or not it is an issue of medical malpractice.
Who can be sued for medical malpractice?
The most frequent defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits seem to be doctors and nurses. However, anyone in the medical field with a substantial influence over the patient's health is held to a standard of care and negligence on their part that leads to the patient's injury will make them liable for those injuries. This includes hospital administrators, medical technicians, chiropractors, dentists, anesthesiologists and radiologists.
What is the standard of care under medical malpractice law?
The standard of care in medicine is not necessarily set in stone. Medical professionals are not judged based on the results of their work or even the patient's expectations but rather whether a reasonable physician in the same field under similar circumstances would have performed the same way. This "reasonableness" is found in much of personal injury law but for medical malpractice cases, the standard is usually explored with the assistance of an expert witness.
Are all cases of misdiagnosis considered medical malpractice?
No, unfortunately they are not. As mentioned before, medicine does not claim to be perfect. There is always a margin for error when doctors are diagnosing the conditions of a patient. This is why they will compile a list of possible conditions based on the symptoms and come to a conclusion based on a process of elimination. Furthermore, diagnostic medicine relies heavily on tests and equipment that may also err from time to time. The key to determining whether your misdiagnosis was a result of your doctor's negligence is to consult with your lawyer on the specifics of your situation.
If you need quality legal assistance in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer from Ward Smith, PLLC today and receive a free no obligation case evaluation.