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4 Questions You Can Ask Yourself to Determine If You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim

concerned couple with medicine bottle talking to doctor

How to Prove Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a very real and serious threat to many Americans—it is estimated that 17,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed annually nationwide. However, just because you had a bad or unsatisfactory experience with a medical professional doesn’t necessarily mean you have a claim. Here are four questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have legitimate grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Alaska.

Did a Doctor-Patient Relationship Exist Between You & the Medical Professional in Question?

To have a viable medical malpractice claim you must have hired a doctor to examine, treat, or provide some other type of medical procedure or advice. That doctor must have also agreed to see you.

For example, if you scheduled an appointment with your primary physician at a clinic, the doctor-patient relationship has been established. However, if you followed the advice of a medical blog and hurt yourself that way, you do not have a medical malpractice claim.

Was the Doctor, Nurse, or Other Medical Professional Negligent?

Doctors and other medical staff must uphold a “duty of care” to everyone they treat. While doctors cannot reasonably cure or save every single patient of theirs, they must make a genuine and competent effort to do so.

If you can show that your doctor caused you harm in a way that a capable health professional of a similar background would not have under the same circumstances, you likely have a claim. An example of negligence would be a doctor misdiagnosing you when your condition should have been obvious to them.

Did Their Negligence Cause Your Injury?

You must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the doctor’s negligence (or, in some cases, malfunctioning or defective equipment) that caused your injury. If a pre-existing medical condition is what actually caused you harm, you cannot bring a claim against a negligent doctor or product manufacturer.

This can be tough for a patient with little insider knowledge of the medical world to prove, so plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case often enlist a medical expert to testify on their behalf.

Did Your Injury Lead to Specific Damages?

Finally, you must show that your injury led to actual, tangible harm. For example, if your doctor misdiagnosed your condition and prescribed you the wrong medication, but the medicine caused no negative side effects or complications, you cannot file a medical malpractice suit.

Even if the medical professional performed below the standards expected of them, you can only sue them if their incompetence or recklessness led to actual harm.

Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

While you should be able to definitively answer all four of the above questions affirmatively to have a medical malpractice case, there may still be hope for your claim if you’re experiencing doubt. Speaking to a lawyer can help clear up some of the uncertainty you’re feeling. Fortunately, most law firms offer a free consultation during which you can explain the details of your case. By the end of the call, a lawyer should be able to tell you whether you have grounds for a claim. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can also help you build your claim, represent you in negation or litigation proceedings, and provide legal counsel throughout. Finally, having a lawyer on your side will maximize the amount of compensation you can receive.

Do you think you have a medical malpractice claim? Our Anchorage medical malpractice attorney can help. Contact us today!