'Standard of Care' in Medical Malpractice Claims

If you suffered an injury due to the actions or inactions of a healthcare provider, there are very specific guidelines for determining if you may have a medical malpractice claim.

If your doctor makes a mistake or something goes wrong at the hospital, it does not necessarily rise to the level of medical malpractice. In order to bring a lawsuit, two important criteria have to be met: 1) the patient's medical treatment had to fall beneath the medical "standard of care," and 2) this sub-standard medical care must have caused the patient harm or injury.

What is the medical "standard of care?" The general definition is "the type and level of care an ordinary, prudent, health care professional, with the same training and experience would provide under similar circumstances in the same community" (ABA). In other words, 'would another comparable doctor have given the same treatment in my circumstances?' If the answer to this question is "no" and you suffered harm because of it, then you may have a medical malpractice claim.

This can be a very difficult matter to prove, however. It will likely require the testimony of an expert witness (another similarly trained and experienced doctor). This expert will have to define the "standard of care" in your situation, specifically testify how your medical care was below this standard, and testify exactly how this caused you harm.

As can be seen, a medical malpractice lawsuit requires knowledge and experience with medical and legal matters. Therefore, the best advice is to contact our office and we can discuss the particulars of your situation in detail.

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