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Medical Malpractice: Do I Have a Case?

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As patients, we must trust our healthcare providers.  We must believe that they have our best interests at heart and will do everything in their power to provide the best care possible. Unfortunately, sometimes that just isn't the case. Sometimes a doctor simply makes the wrong decision at a critical time. The aftermath can leave a patient injured, paralyzed or even dead. Current malpractice statistics may be surprising: "While the dollar figures are fairly high for medical malpractice plaintiffs who are successful at trial, the numbers show that plaintiffs aren't all that likely to get a verdict in their favor. Of medical malpractice cases that make it to court trials, plaintiffs prevailed in 21 percent of verdicts, while settlement-based resolutions favored the plaintiff in 61 percent of cases." If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you need to understand what constitutes malpractice and the points that must be proven to win your case.

Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases involve negligence on the part of the medical care provider.  What is negligence? When you can prove that the healthcare provider did not meet the standard of care, you have negligence. Simply having a negative outcome does not establish negligence. Before you can bring a case, you must have an affidavit from a physician who practices in the same exact area of medicine as the doctor you wish to sue, certifying the doctor fell below the standard of care.  Some errors in the medical field are more common than others. Incorrect diagnoses, medication errors and mistakes during surgery happen far more often than we would like to think. For example, a physician in a hurry may incorrectly write digits on a prescription, with dangerous results. Or, a surgeon may incorrectly operate on the wrong limb and do irreparable harm to the healthy limb. While these examples are scary and detrimental to the patient, it takes more than just an error or injury to bring a successful medical malpractice suit. When medical malpractice occurs because of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider and the link between negligence and injury can be proven, the injured party or their estate has a basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be challenging. While many people believe they receive substandard or negligent care, they don't always move forward with a malpractice lawsuit. This is true for several reasons. Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove. The lawsuits can drag on for years and cost exorbitant amounts of money to pursue with no guarantee of a verdict in your favor.

There are several things that must be done in a medical malpractice lawsuit:

  • Establish the patient - doctor relationship. If the person attempting to bring a lawsuit was not being treated, there is no basis for a malpractice suit.
  • Prove the medical professional provided substandard care. The standard of care is judged against what any other medical professional would reasonably do in the same situation.
  • Show a direct link of the medical professional's negligence and the injury to the patient.
  • Demonstrate measurable harm done to the patient. General aches and pains will not be sufficient for a successful lawsuit.

Consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. If you are considering bringing a lawsuit, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can review your case and give you guidance on the most likely path to success.

Finding a Medical Malpractice Attorney

A medical provider and his or her insurance company would much rather settle with you directly and as quickly as possible. An insurance company settlement will prevent future claims against them regardless of any future injuries or medical issues you may develop. You should never accept a settlement offer without consulting with independent medical professionals and a medical malpractice attorney. A skilled medical malpractice attorney can assess your claim and supporting evidence. Most attorneys will not advise you to move forward with your claim unless there is strong documentation and evidence pointing to negligence.

Bringing a medical malpractice suit is time-sensitive. The medical malpractice statute of limitations for cases vary from state to state and can range from 180 days to years. If you believe you have grounds to bring forward a case of malpractice, it is important not to delay. There are filings and deadlines you must meet to have your case heard before the statute of limitations prevents you from having your day in court.

Our attorneys are here to help individuals and families throughout Tucson, Arizona. We will review your situation and injuries and advise you on your options for a medical malpractice claim. Our team of lawyers is committed to addressing the individual needs of each of our clients and want to help you resolve your case. Contact our office today.

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West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman P.L.L.C.

310 S. Williams Blvd
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Tucson, AZ 85711

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