What You Need To Know About Medical Negligence

Posted on: 25 April 2019

The feeling that your doctor didn't do a great job treating you is bad enough to deal with, but concerns that their work amounted to negligence can leave you feeling exasperated. You may be wondering what a medical negligence attorney might have to say about your situation. Here are three of the basic ideas that underpin the legal definition of medical negligence, the most common reason for malpractice claims to be filed in the U.S.

Establishment of a Patient-Doctor Relationship

While it's not wise for a practitioner to give out free advice, there isn't a binding relationship formed until you and a doctor enter into an agreement. When you go to a doctor who you are paying for advice or treatment, their acceptance of you as a patient forms a legal arrangement. That arrangement remains in place until such time that either treatment is completed or you and the doctor agree for you to transfer to the care of another professional. A practitioner is responsible for all care that occurs in the time in between, and they're also responsible for any consequences that might follow.

What Plaintiffs May File Claims For

Medical negligence is considered a subset of injury law, and claims need to cover some form of injury that is legally defined. This definition covers things most people would consider obvious, such as unexpected disfigurement, the medically unnecessary loss of a body part, worsening a patient's condition, and complications that are considered unreasonable. For example, someone who goes to a doctor to have their tonsils removed doesn't expect to develop a life-threatening infection due to poorly sterilization techniques.

The definition of negligence also covers things that aren't just physical. A failure to correctly administer anesthesia that then leads to the perception of massive pain during a procedure might be considered medical negligence. Likewise, emotional or mental trauma arising from a procedure, such as depression, may be included in a claim.

How Claims Move Forward

Most claims will start with a demand letter from a medical negligence attorney to a doctor's insurance carrier. This letter outlines the injuries the client suffered and the compensation that is demanded. A claims adjuster will assess the validity of the case, and they may offer compensation if they feel the claim is provable. Negotiations often ensue at this stage. If an offer is too low, negotiations fail or a claim is rejected, then it may be necessary to pursue a lawsuit.