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Los Angeles Law Blog

By stephen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Other on Friday, June 25, 2021.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice

Doctors make mistakes, this is a fact. Doctors can and are, at times, also negligent in their care, and sometimes just plain wrong. When they provide healthcare that’s negligent and incorrect, they expose themselves to medical malpractice lawsuits.

 

The number of medical malpractice cases each year has been trending upward for some time. Currently, there are about 85,000 medical malpractice cases filed a year, with some estimating that around one million injuries stemming from medical malpractice occur each year. You may be wondering what medical malpractice is, or what constitutes medical malpractice, so here are the basics:

 

Medical Malpractice Defined

 

To define the term, you should understand that any healthcare provider or professional, from hospitals to doctors, are expected to provide a certain standard and quality of care. Also, you should understand that healthcare providers and professionals are not liable for all injuries and/or harms that patients experience. 

 

Medical malpractice is when patients experience injuries and/or harms due to the care of a doctor or hospital that has deviated from that standard and quality of care. This deviation, according to the law in order to be labeled as malpractice, needs to occur due to negligence or omission.

 

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice

 

There are a number of characteristics of a medical malpractice lawsuit that must exist in order for a claim to constitute medical malpractice under the law. These include:

 

  • A Violation of the Standard of Care: Patients have the right to expect that hospitals and doctors will provide a “standard of care” that is recognized in the medical field as being “acceptable medical treatment” provided by “reasonably prudent” healthcare professionals under “similar circumstances”. 
  • Injury Caused by the Negligence and/or Omission: In addition to the violation of the standard of care, for a claim to constitute medical malpractice, there must be proof provided by the patient that an injury occurred that would not have otherwise occurred if not for the healthcare provider’s negligence or omission. In other words, the violation caused the injury.
  • Injury Resulted in Significant Damages: The fact is that medical malpractice lawsuits are very costly, so the difference in the number of lawsuits filed a year from the number of injuries that occur may in part be due to the fact that some injuries, that constitute medical malpractice, may not have resulted in “significant damages”. To pursue such a claim, the patient must be able to show that the injury resulted in disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering and hardship, and/or significant past and future medical bills.

 

Kristensen LLP has a proven record in representing victims of medical malpractice. In 2016, our firm obtained a $4.3 million settlement in a malpractice case. We have the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you deserve if your doctor or healthcare provider has let you down. Call today for a free and confidential consultation.