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5 Things to Understand About Medical Malpractice

Every year thousands of people are affected by errors made by doctors or medical providers, which can cause severe damages or injuries to patients. In fact, medical malpractice is one of the top five leading causes of death in the United States. This statistic is sure to frighten some people, so below we have gone over some ways in which you can help prevent this from happening to you or a loved one. The information is provided in a Q&A format, in which common concerns surrounding malpractice are revealed.

What Exactly is the Definition of Medical Malpractice?

In legal terms, the definition of medical malpractice is when a health provider drifts out of the zone of what is considered standard care in regards to treatment of patients. A standard of care is viewed as what a reasonably cautious medical doctor would have or not have done in an identical or similar scenario. In plain words, malpractice is when a doctor is negligent in the care of his or her patient.

How is Medical Malpractice Determined?

A medical malpractice lawsuit can be appropriate if the doctor’s negligent actions results in injury, damages or even death to the patient. It is important to understand that an unfortunate outcome does not always mean medical malpractice occurred. Patients find out about the malpractice if doctors are forthcoming and admit mistakes in an effort to be honest, or another doctor informs the patient their previous doctor made a misjudgement.

Does an Apology Actually Help?

If a doctor decides to make an open and prompt apology to the patient, it can prevent a lawsuit. Most insurance companies prefer to settle an amount with the patient directly, versus having the case be taken to court. Due to medical malpractice trials having a high likelihood of failing, are time consuming and expensive, many people do not attempt to seek compensation for their injuries even when it is rightfully due.

What Should You Do if You Believe Medical Malpractice Occurred?

Many people choose to seek an attorney who is familiar with medical malpractice claims for a case evaluation. An attorney can help you determine if the claim is actionable based on the evidence you provide. Examples of evidence that can be helpful include all paperwork related to the injury, medical records, financial statements, previous health conditions and written conversations with the doctor (email, text, letters).

What Can Patients Do to Minimize the Chances of Malpractice?

Be proactive about your medical care, do research to fully understand your condition and document any symptoms. Ask questions that are important to you, and hold your doctor to a high standard of answering fully and attending compassionately to concerns. Many people can become intimidated by the medical system. However, speak up for yourself and advocate for your health. If something seems wrong or feels off, report it to your doctor right away. Use common sense and listen to the messages your body is sending you. If you are a victim of a medical malpractice case, speak with an experienced attorney such as the medical malpractice lawyer Salt Lake City UT locals turn to.


Thanks to authors at Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into Personal Injury Law.