California Medical Malpractice Legal Information
Every time we walk into a doctor's office, we are putting all of our faith in a medical professional to do the right thing. They're the experts and we're not, which means that a certain amount of trust is always required. However, sometimes medical professionals break that trust, either by accident or by intention, at which point medical malpractice becomes an issue. Medical malpractice cases are designed to protect the rights of patients in a number of different ways.
Types of Medical Malpractice
When people think of medical malpractice, they usually call to mind images of a surgery or procedure gone wrong. While a doctor amputating the wrong foot or removing the wrong internal organ would certainly be an example of this type of case, it's important to understand that it really goes much deeper than that.
One of the most common types of medical malpractice involves an improper diagnosis. If a doctor tells you that you just have a simple cold and it later turns out that you really had cancer, he or she delayed you from getting the proper medical attention that you need. You are likely entitled to financial compensation as a result.
Treating a patient without proper permission would also be a prime example of medical malpractice. If you go to a dentist to have your wisdom teeth removed and while you're under general anesthesia the dentist removes five other teeth at the same time that you didn't discuss or agree to ahead of time, you've just been the victim of medical malpractice.
Finding Fault in a Malpractice Claim
In order to have a proper medical malpractice case, a number of steps need to be taken in order to determine whether or not a medical professional was truly at fault. Not only do you need to prove that they were at fault from a logistical sense, but that fault also needs to be proven from a legal perspective.
To do this, a number of things must be true:
- The medical professional in question needs to have "owed a duty" to the patient. This step is fairly easy, as it is almost always true thanks to the doctor/patient relationship in the first place.
- The medical professional needs to have deviated from the standard level of care. If they decide to treat a common cold using techniques that go above and beyond what is considered "acceptable" for this situation, they have breached their duty owed to the patient and thus are likely responsible.
- The breach of duty, along with the deviation of the standard, acceptable level of care, must have directly contributed to the injury that you sustained.
- You have to prove that you were injured in the first place.
If you went into a plastic surgeon to have a mole removed and he removed the wrong one, you may not actually be entitled to compensation if you were not harmed in any way even though they have breached their duty to you and you are technically a victim of medical malpractice. However, if they remove the wrong mole and then the mole that they were supposed to take care of later develops into melanoma, you're suddenly in the middle of a completely different situation.
Medical Malpractice Legal Consultation
These are just a few of the reasons why it is so important to always consult with a legal professional in terms of medical malpractice cases. A personal injury attorney can not only help make sure that you have a case worthy of advancement, but they can also help protect your rights and make sure that you get all of the financial compensation that you are entitled to in a court of law. A personal injury attorney can also help make sure that your case proceeds properly and can navigate it towards the most favorable outcome possible.
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