Manchester Medical Malpractice Attorney Answers Medical Malpractice FAQ
Medical malpractice is a legal cause of action for personal injury caused by negligence in the provision of health care. Every Manchester medical malpractice attorney would agree that medicine is not an exact science and cannot guarantee successful outcomes and results in every case of known risks and possible complications, but malpractice occurs when health care providers fail to perform according to professional standards.
As an example, a surgeon who leaves a scalpel inside a patient may be liable for malpractice. The following are some answers to frequent questions about medical malpractice:
Q: What is a medical malpractice claim?
A: In a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff claims negligence by a professional health care provider, a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, clinic, or hospital, for treatment that departs from a standard of care the law requires from reasonably competent professionals similarly situated in education, training, and experience and that harms the patient.
Q: Does any patient dissatisfied with the results of surgery have a viable medical malpractice claim?
A: No. Because there can be no guarantees, the mere fact of an unexpected or unsuccessful result cannot prove negligence. To make a medical malpractice case viable, the plaintiff must prove injury as a proximate result of a failure to meet an applicable standard of care.
Q: What should a patient do to pursue a medical malpractice claim?
A: First, consult with a Manchester medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible about exactly what happened from the first visit through the last contact with the provider. If possible, bring the case medical records to the initial consultation. There are time limits on medical malpractice claims, so time is of the essence.
Q: What is informed consent?
A: Although the actual definition of the term may vary from state to state, the essential meaning is that the provider must inform the patient of all potential risks, benefits, and alternatives involved in any medical or surgical procedure or treatment and must obtain the patient’s written consent to proceed with it.
Q: Is a provider who prescribes a drug without telling the patient it was part of an experimental program liable for malpractice?
A: The provider has a duty to inform the patient when a drug to be prescribed is part of an experimental program, and the patient has the right to refuse to participate in the experiment. A patient whose Manchester medical malpractice attorney can prove that the prescribed drug caused an injury may have a malpractice action against the provider for failure to obtain informed consent to this treatment.
Q: If the consent form signed before the procedure is valid, can the patient recover any damages for injury in a medical malpractice claim?
A: Yes, there still may be a recovery. The consent is not a release from liability for negligent performance of a medical procedure. If the patient establishes that the provider failed to satisfy the applicable standard of care and caused injury as a result, there may be an award to the patient of compensatory damages against the provider. The patient also may have a claim for battery on the theory that the procedure performed went beyond the consent given.
Q: How does a jury determine whether a provider was negligent?
A: The jury considers expert testimony, usually from other providers, on whether they believe the defendant provider followed standard medical practices or performed at a level below the accepted standard of care.
Q: What is a certificate of merit?
A: One obstacle plaintiffs face in many states before they can file medical malpractice claims is the requirement for a certificate of merit filing. The claimant first must have an expert, usually another provider, review the medical records and certify that the claimant’s provider caused injury by deviating from accepted medical practices. The claimant’s attorney then files the certificate of merit confirming that the attorney has consulted a medical expert, who certifies merit for the malpractice claim.
Q: How does a patient who suspects malpractice find out whether there is a valid claim?
A: Patients who suspect provider negligence may consult with a malpractice attorney for a free claim evaluation. The consulted attorney who believes there is a valid claim will help the patient start on it.
Consult a Manchester Medical Malpractice Attorney
Most if not all attorneys in personal injury practice with experience in medical malpractice litigation charge no fee for initial case evaluation consultations. Many if not most charge no fee for representation and assistance in litigation unless and until there are settlements or judgments by which their clients recover full and fair compensation for their injuries. Then the fee is typically a third of the amount recovered.
Sometimes the patient does not become aware of the injury until long after the treatment. Then the need for an immediate consultation with no unnecessary delay is especially urgent. If the time provided by the statute of limitations runs out, no court can hear the claim, and there will be no recovery. Do not delay. For a free consultation with a Manchester medical malpractice attorney call 603–624–7200.