What is “Standard of Care” and what Does it Mean When You Suffer Medical Injury?
Medical mistakes occur every day in the healthcare industry, as do unfortunate outcomes that can occur without a medical error. Not all poor results come from mistakes. What’s the difference?
Our law firm has more than three decades of practice helping individuals and families deal with and manage the outcomes of medical decisions, treatments, and surgical interventions. Part of our work is helping injured parties understand which events may be potential legal claims and which likely fall short of the conditions needed to prevail in a legal action.
What Negligence Should Mean To You
For anyone who suffers an injury at the hands of other persons or organizations, negligence is an important term. In a civil, as opposed to criminal, legal setting, negligence refers to a failure to perform or behave in a way that could be expected of a reasonable person in similar circumstances.
Across the US, proving negligence is a key task of a personal injury lawsuit. Without proving someone negligent in a civil matter, one cannot recover compensation for an injury.
If you are injured in a car accident, or by a physician, your attorney will very likely need to prove the following elements:
- Your attorney must prove the defendant owed you a duty of due care in the setting in which you were injured
- It must be shown that the defendant breached that duty by acting, or not acting, in a way he or she should have
- It must be clear that their actions, or lack of action, was the cause of your injury
- This breach of duty must have caused you significant harm or damage
Medical malpractice is a form of negligence that is highly specialized. Unlike other types of personal injury matters, it is important to work with attorneys who are experienced with initiating sometimes complex legal actions against individual and institutional clients. Medical malpractice cases often turn on highly specialized information that provides a picture of whether a healthcare provider was truly negligent.
With medical malpractice, a critical question at the root of almost every case is whether a physician or other healthcare provider breached the standard of care expected in their field of medical practice or treatment. While it is not difficult to prove that a surgeon owes a patient a duty of due care, it is sometimes quite difficult to prove that their care fell below the standard expected by other healthcare providers in similar circumstances.
In anticipation of elective, non-emergency procedures, an important aspect of medical care is informed consent. This means that part of your preparation for a medical treatment, surgery, or other intervention involves a frank discussion of the medical care and the risks that can occur as a result of the procedure. Patients should be advised of the risks associated with the proposed treatment and the available alternative treatment modalities. Sometimes patients suffer serious adverse outcomes and immediately assume their surgeon or healthcare provider was at fault. However, the poor outcome may be a known risk of the procedure. That is why a discussion of the risks, benefits, and alternatives regarding treatment is important.
In medical malpractice matters, expert witnesses are called upon to review the medical records of a patient and details of the incident. They render opinions about standard of care, the cause of the injury, and the nature and extent of the harm. Both plaintiffs and defendants retain expert witnesses, who are usually highly qualified practitioners in the same field as the physician whose behavior is in question. These experts provide opinions on whether the adverse outcome was a known side effect, or a result of below-standard care.
For patients who suffer medical harm, the single best step is to speak with a trusted medical malpractice attorney who can explore and explain the circumstances of your case, and your options moving forward.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer In Washington, DC Or Baltimore, Maryland
At Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A., we serve clients and families injured by medical negligence and medical malpractice locally, and around the country. We fight for your right to compensation when you suffer injury due to a medical mistake. Contact us today or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation concerning your case.