Medical malpractice in California happens when a patient is harmed by a medical professional (doctors, nurses, etc.) who fails to perform his/her medical duties. The rules in terms of medical malpractice, as to whether you need to bring a lawsuit or notify the doctor ahead of time vary from one state to the other. However, there are general principles and categories of rules that are applicable to the majority of medical malpractice cases. Below is an overview of the law and some special rules.
What are the Basic Requirements for A Claim?
It’s a must to prove that medical malpractice occurred and it needs to show the following.
• Doctor-patient relationship
You need to show that there was an existence of physician-patient relationship with the doctor that you are suing. It means that you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. For instance, you can’t file a claim with a doctor that you just overheard giving an advice at a party. When a doctor started seeing and treating you, then, it would be easy for you to prove the existence of physician-patient relationship.
• Negligent Doctor
Only because you are unhappy with the treatment you received, this does not necessarily mean that the doctor is responsible for medical malpractice. There needs to be negligence on the part of the doctor. This means that the doctor has not been reasonably careful and skillful during the diagnosis and treatment. And in order to sue for malpractice, you need to show that the doctor caused harm, in a way that any competent doctor, when under the same situation, would not have.
• The Negligence caused the Injury
Given that many malpractice cases involve patients who were already injured or sick, there is usually a question whether what the doctor did was negligent or not and caused the harm. For instance, if a patient died after receiving treatment for lung cancer, and the doctor committed something negligent, it’s hard to prove that such negligence caused the death, rather than the disease. In this case, the patient needs to show that more likely than not, the incompetence of the doctor caused the injury. In most cases, the patient needs to have a medical certificate that would testify that it was negligence that caused the injury.
• The Injury Led to Specific Damages
Even if it’s clear that the medical professional performed below the expected standard of care, the patient cannot just sue for malpractice if he/she did not suffer any harm. Below are the examples of harm that patients can sue for:
• mental anguish
• physical pain
• lost work and earning capacity
• additional medical cost
The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice
• Failure to Diagnose
• Improper Treatment
• Failure to Warn Patients of Known Risks
The law behind medical malpractice is regulated by a complex body of rules which vary from one state to the other. And in this case, it is best to get advice or representation from the best Lawyers in Los Angeles.