According to a study by Johns Hopkins, medical errors account for nearly 250,000 deaths each year, while other studies say that number could be as high as 440,000. That makes medical mistakes the third-leading cause of death in the United States.
Medical malpractice can be one of the most challenging types of personal injury cases to prove, as the burden of proof is typically more complex than cases involving motor vehicle accidents, or slip-and-fall incidents.
What types of medical mistakes can result in malpractice claims?
Malpractice cases stem from numerous medical errors, but the top seven are:
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Childbirth errors
- Failure to inform the patient of risks
How do malpractice claims differ?
In most personal injury cases, a plaintiff must prove negligence by the defendant, that those actions led to the plaintiff’s injury and that the defendant is responsible for the damages caused. In medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs must prove these three conditions exist:
- Duty of care: This is usually the easiest part of the case, where you must prove that you were a patient of the doctor or other medical professional when the mistake happened.
- Negligence: Proving this step can be complicated. An experienced medical malpractice attorney must prove that the medical professional did not do what another doctor would have reasonably done under the same circumstances.
- Duty of care was breached: This step links the healthcare professional’s negligence with failing to live up to their duty of care, which resulted in your injury or illness.
What damages can you recover?
Once all three steps above are proven, you can seek compensation for economic damages, including:
- Hospital, medical and pharmacy bills
- Lost wages
- Renovations needed over accessibility to a house or vehicle
You can also seek non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, which can be difficult to determine.
Help for those who have been wronged
Changes to Tennessee laws and regulations have made it increasingly difficult to pursue medical malpractice cases. That’s why it’s crucial to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney with the expertise, knowledge and resources to fight for the compensation you deserve.