Malpractice Encompasses Multiple Types of Physician Errors: Here’s How to Prove Your Claim

The general public places a tremendous amount of trust in medical professionals, but sometimes that faith is misplaced. If you've been a victim of medical malpractice, it's possible to recover compensation if you can provide four key elements of proof.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Medical Malpractice?

Legally speaking, malpractice is defined as actions that deviate from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and cause an injury to the Proving a medical malpractice claim can be difficult. Our attorneys fight to make sure you're compensated for your ordeal.patient as a result. Common malpractice causes include:

  • Failure to Diagnose: Failing to correctly interpret test results or to recognize the established signs of a serious medical condition would be considered malpractice.

  • Wrong Diagnosis: This type of malpractice case occurs most often when a doctor assumes the patient has a minor medical issue, but doesn't perform any follow up tests. For example, a fracture misdiagnosed as a sprain could result in ongoing pain and difficulty performing everyday activities if the bone heals incorrectly.

  • Delay in Diagnosis: Physicians can be held liable if they fail to recommend a timely course of treatment or refer a patient to the appropriate specialist.

  • Surgical Errors: Complications from an operation that a physician performed incorrectly due to stress, exhaustion, or poor training could be the basis of a malpractice claim.

  • Medication Errors: Claims involving medication errors can refer to patients receiving the wrong medication, the incorrect dose, or being given two medications that caused a serious drug interaction.

  • Lack of Informed Consent: Patients have a right to know about the potential risks associated with any medical care they receive. Failing to provide this information makes a doctor potentially guilty of malpractice.

  • Birth Injuries and Negligent Maternity Care: If a child is injured during delivery or develops a serious condition such as cerebral palsy as a result, a physician could be held liable. Negligent maternity care could involve injuries to the mother that would limit her ability to have additional children.

Medical malpractice cases are prosecuted under a subset of tort law dealing with professional negligence.

Which Medical Specialties Have the Most Medical Malpractice Claims?

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that malpractice claims tend to center around certain medical specialties. Listed from highest to lowest levels of malpractice claims, the top 10 specialties are:

  1. Neurosurgery

  2. Thoracic-cardiovascular surgery

  3. General surgery

  4. Orthopedic surgery

  5. Plastic surgery

  6. Gastroenterology

  7. Obstetrics and gynecology

  8. Urology

  9. Pulmonary medicine

  10. Oncology

These areas of medicine tend to involve high numbers of very ill patients and the need to perform complex procedures. However, any medical professional can be found guilty of malpractice.

How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?

There are four factors you need to prove to win any malpractice case:

  1. The plaintiff and the defendant had a doctor-patient relationship

  2. The doctor was negligent in diagnosis or treatment

  3. The doctor’s negligence causes the injury in question

  4. The injury in question led to specific damages, such as added medical costs or time where you were unable to work

Of all these factors, proving negligence is usually the most difficult. To be successful, you must show that your doctor's actions deviated from the standard treatment for your condition. This will require expert testimony to discuss how your diagnosis and treatment should have proceeded.

"What Can I Receive for Compensation?"

Medical malpractice awards are based on a number of factors, including past and future medical bills, loss of earnings and future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. The more serious the error that resulted in the malpractice claim, the higher the compensation will likely be.

The average compensation of paid medical malpractice claims is $485,000, with outpatient cases averaging $290,000 and inpatient cases averaging $363,000.

Over 90 percent of medical malpractice cases are settled before trial, but jury verdicts in favor of the plaintiff average almost double that of an out-of-court settlement. Plaintiffs going to trial reportedly average $799,000 in compensation.

How Can Inland Empire Law Group Help?

Since proving medical malpractice can be difficult, it’s crucial to enlist a skilled attorney with experience locating the correct experts to testify on your behalf. Inland Empire Law Group is committed to helping victims of medical negligence who received treatment at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center or another local facility receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives, but California does have a strict statute of limitations for malpractice claims. Please call us at (888) MY IE LAW to learn more.