Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence are the same. It means that a healthcare provider carelessly or negligently caused injury to a patient in the course of treating them. This includes doctors, surgeons, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc.
Keep in mind – you will need to consult with an experienced attorney to be able to answer these 3 questions… and that can be handled with a
1. Did the care received meet the appropriate standard of care required?
2. Is the harm permanent and substantial?
3. Is the value of the claim substantial enough to justify the expense to litigate?
When evaluating a medmal claim, the first thing is to gather all of the medical records that relate to the claim. Medical authorizations provided by the patient allow the attorney to review all of the records to determine if the patient was injured by careless or negligent treatment.
The standard of care is a national standard and applies to the entire US. The standard is the minimal level of care that is considered satisfactory and is not negligent or malpractice.
If the care was below the standard, then it qualifies as medical malpractice. It is like drawing a line… care above this line is acceptable but care below the line is not and would validate a medmal claim.
If the attorney determines the client’s claim may have merit, then all the records and other medical information is sent to an expert for review.
The review must be done by a similar health care professional as the healthcare provider who is the subject of the claim. In other words, if the claim involves a nurse, then the expert reviewer must be a nurse — with like training and expertise. If the claim is against a medical doctor, or surgeon, then the reviewer must have the same training and expertise as they do.
If the review determines that the care was below the appropriate standard of care required, the next step is to determine if the injures to the patient are severe and permanent.
If the harm is minimal with no permanent damage, then the attorney will probably not move ahead with the case because it would not be economically viable.
This means if the lawyer feels that the cost to litigate is greater than the value of the claim, he will go no further.
Keep in mind that medical malpractice cases, like other negligence case i.e. auto accidents, nursing home abuse cases, etc., are handled on a contingence fee basis.
This means no fee or costs are owed to the attorney unless he successfully recovers compensation for the client.
It is the lawyer who funds the case (medmal cases are very costly to handle) and if he determines, based upon his experience, that the chances of recovery are less than the time and money needed to litigate the claim, then he will not be willing to pursue the matter any further.
If the claim appears to be valid, meaning the care was below standard and the client’s injuries are significant, the attorney will then proceed to make a legal claim for the client.