Medical lawsuit is a unique cause of action which occurs whenever a medical or healthcare professional, through a negligent act or omission, harms a patient, thus causing personal injury to that person. The negligent act may arise from inappropriate treatment, errors in diagnosis, post-operative care, health management or treatment. As the case may be drawn from the tort of negligence, medical lawsuit has been known as the tort of medical malpractice. The plaintiff can sustain the damages by suing the defendant (or her/his insurer) for the alleged injury. In some cases, the plaintiff may not need to go to court to seek compensation, but can submit the complaint to the court for an initial filing.

In the United States, medical lawsuit against doctors has been increasing due to an increase in malpractice cases. Patients have been demanding for years for doctors to be held accountable for their actions. An increasing number of doctors and clinics are choosing to settle out of court, rather than face a trial. In most instances, medical lawsuits filed by individuals have won substantial compensation, although doctors and clinics can face significant monetary damages in court.

A medical lawsuit is different from a negligence case as it revolves around deliberate actions on the part of a healthcare professional or physician. For example, a doctor can be found liable for prescribing the wrong dosage of medication, prescribing the wrong treatment for a patient, prescribing the wrong drug, prescribing expired medication, etc. In a medical malpractice case, on the other hand, the plaintiff must prove that he/she was a victim of medical malpractice, with proof that the doctor violated some standard of care. A patient may not be able to point to any such violation.

For medical malpractice claims, filing requires two years of diligent research and documentation. The time period starts from the date of birth of the patient to the date of death. Proving the case takes another two years. Depending on the nature of the allegations and the complexity, the process may take more time. On the average, patients wait between one and two years before being able to file medical lawsuits.

The main reason behind filing a medical lawsuit is to hold the medical professional or physician accountable for the harm caused to the patient. It is also the best way to ensure that the negligent actions or lack of care will not repeat in the future. For instance, if a family member suffered from a fatal heart disease, the family may want to hold the hospital or doctor accountable for not having required a defibrillator to treat the family member when the disease had no cure. Such lawsuits also aim to compensate the family members for mental anguish caused by the negligent actions.

The health care provider has a legal duty to provide health care to the patient. Even if there was a defect or lapse in the treatment or even a delay in treatment, the health care professional should have exercised more caution in handling the patient. A patient who has suffered because of health care malpractice cases has a valid claim to file a medical lawsuit against the practitioner and the hospital or doctor.

By Ricky

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