Medical Malpractice is the legal term used when a health care professional, such as a Doctor or Nurse fails to maintain an accepted standard of care and directly causes harm to the patient.
Health care professionals are not infallible, but they are expected to possess the basic knowledge and skills of their average colleagues in the same area of practice.
This qualiﬁcation is known as a “standard of practice“ or “a standard of care“. If a medical professional fails to maintain this standard when treating a patient, whether through deed or omission, that failure is considered to be a deviation from the accepted standart of practice or care.
If a medical professional fails to maintain the accepted standard of care, the patient will have to have been damaged as a result of the deviation to merit a claim. These damages may include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Additional medical care and treatment caused by the injury.
- Loss of income.
- Permanent disablement resulting in future damages.
The standard of care must be established by an expert medical professional in the same area of practice, testifying that the health care professional treating the patient failed to maintain this accepted standard.
No. The deviation alone is not sufﬁcient. It must be shown that the deviation caused direct harm to the patient and consequent suffering, or worsening of the patient’s condition.
Medical Malpractice cases are governed by Statutes of Limitations which dictate the time that is allowed for a complainant to ﬁle a lawsuit after experiencing Medical Malpractice.
Generally, this time begins when the event takes place, but sometimes it commences when the patient realises that Medical Malpractice was the cause of their disablement or illness.
Statutes of Limitations can vary greatly, so it is important to consult an experienced legal expert as early as possible.