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Medical Malpractice

Legal requirements for medical malpractice lawsuits

While the technical ins and outs of medical malpractice laws vary greatly from place to place, there are several unifying defining features. First, all medical malpractice claims hold that the health care professional acted in a negligent manner in treating or failing to treat a disease or condition.

This negligence can come about in several ways. First, the practitioner can misdiagnose or fail to diagnose a disease or condition, which can lead to lack of treatment or incorrect treatment. Second, the health care worker can fail to treat a known condition or disease in the standard and correct manner. Third, the patient may experience what's known as an "unreasonable delay" when seeking treatment. Finally, medical malpractice lawsuits can be launched due to lack of "informed consent."

"Informed consent" refers to a situation in which the patient has a full understanding of all the risks and potential side effects of a procedure or treatment. For example, if there is a 40 percent chance that an invasive operation could lead to the loss of the use of the patient's legs and the patient doesn't know that, medical malpractice may have been committed regardless of whether or not the operation was performed successfully.

What's Involved in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases are not easy to launch or win. First, as experienced malpractice lawyers will advise you, not all cases of medical malpractice will result in litigation. It is extremely expensive to litigate medical malpractice cases, in part because you will need to hire independent doctors and medical experts to testify on your behalf, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In some cases, the cost of the suit will exceed any damages you may be awarded. Statutes of limitation may also limit the amount of damages you're able to recover due to medical malpractice liability.

Your first step should be to speak to an experienced specialist attorney. Medical malpractice lawyers typically limit themselves to a very narrow field, given the highly technical and complex nature of these lawsuits. For example, some attorneys deal only with cases of birth injury, while others may deal exclusively with surgical errors or misdiagnoses.

It is important that you work with an attorney who has experience handling cases like yours. Also, ensure that the lawyer is up to date on current medical issues and technologies, has the ability to take the case to trial if necessary, and has reliable access to credible expert witnesses.

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