Medical Malpractice: Questions Victims Have About Suing Their Doctor

Accident Lawyer

When a patient receives care from their doctor that caused them preventable harm, they may consider meeting with an attorney for advice about how to sue their doctor for damages under a medical malpractice lawsuit. Here are examples of some of the questions that may be asked during a legal consultation:

How can I prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed?

To prove there was a relationship between patient and doctor, it must be shown that the patient had sought care and the doctor had agreed to do so. Establishing this relationship is fairly easy in most cases. An example of a situation where a person would not be able to sue a doctor is if they overheard general medical advice from an off-duty doctor while at a party. A doctor that has seen a patient for an exam and either diagnosed or suggested a course of treatment, can be reasonably assumed to have agreed to a doctor-patient relationship. 

If I have reason to file a lawsuit against the doctor, what damages can I receive?

The type and amount of damages that a patient receives for a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on the factors of their unique circumstances. An attorney can evaluate a patient’s case and estimate how much and what kind of damages they are entitled to receive. Examples of damages that patients can get for a negligent or careless doctor can include: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Medical bills (medication, hospitalization, treatments, copays, etc)
  • Mental anguish (stress that developed due to dealing with injury)
  • Loss of earning capacity (if the injury caused temporary or permanent disability in the patient)
  • Loss of wages (if the patient had to be out of work to receive care for injury)

What are common medical malpractice cases?

There are what seems like an unlimited number of ways that a doctor can commit an error or negligence. A doctor could have removed the wrong organ during surgery, prescribed the wrong medication type, or failed to notify the patient about risks involved with a treatment plan. Most scenarios can be summarized into one of these categories:

  • Failure to Diagnose: If another doctor who was of similar knowledge wouldn’t have made the same mistake as the victim’s physician. 
  • Improper Treatment: If the doctor treated the patient in such a manner that no other experienced physician would have. 
  • Failure to Warn of Risks: If the doctor failed to notify the patient of all the risks associated with a procedure or treatment plan. 

What if I am not happy with how my procedure turned out?

There is a difference between a patient being unhappy with a procedure outcome, and a patient who was harmed due to a doctor’s mistake during a procedure that led to quantifiable damages. A patient that was aware of the risks associated with a procedure has to prove that the doctor made an error which led to the undesirable and harmful result, in order to have a strong medical malpractice case. If you believe you are the victim of a doctor’s error, it is advisable to consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Orlando to see what your chances are of getting compensation in a lawsuit.

Thanks to Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for their insight into medical malpractice and questions about suing a doctor.