Doctors are people, too, and they make mistakes. However, the mistakes that doctors make often result in injuries, and even death, for the people they are treating. When this happens, claims of medical malpractice may be made so that the injured party could be recompensed. In cases such as this, you will need professional help–something that a medical malpractice attorney in NYC can provide.
The earliest recorded medical malpractice laws date back to 2030 B.C., when offending doctors were punished by cutting off their hands. Today’s punishments for medical negligence are, of course, a lot less draconian and the requirements for a successful claim are much more stringent.
First, a doctor-patient relationship must be established. This means that you formally sought the care of a doctor and the doctor agreed to provide this care. You can’t file a malpractice claim against a doctor that you asked advice from informally. For example, if you overhear a doctor saying a particular treatment is effective for your disease and you went on to get that treatment, you cannot claim malpractice if you suffer harm from the treatment.
Second, you’ll need to prove that the doctor was negligent. Legally, a doctor is considered negligent if he/she did not adhere to the medical standards of care for a condition or situation. For example, if you are a 20 year old male suffering from cancer, you will need to be treated as all other 20 year old males with cancer would be. If the doctor deviates from these standards, which resulted in harm to you, the doctor could be liable for medical malpractice. Establishing standards is why expert testimony is necessary in medical malpractice cases.
Third, the injury or harm that you suffer must be a direct result of the doctor’s negligence. This can be difficult to prove, as injuries or ailments can have multiple causes. For instance, if a patient dies while suffering from an illness, it can be hard to determine whether the death was from the treatment or the disease itself.
The final component of a medical malpractice suit is damages. Damages for malpractice injuries are not only limited to the physical consequences, but to emotional and mental ones as well. For example, a psychiatrist who misdiagnoses someone suffering from a mental disorder could cause the person’s condition to worsen, or leave him untreated, which, in turn, may lead to that person causing harm on himself or others. A trusted medical malpractice lawyer in New York City like one from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein will help prove that the misdiagnosis was the root of the patient’s destructive action, and seek damages for the harmful consequences on behalf of the client.
(Source: An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States, US National Library of Medicine)