What Is a Medical Malpractice Claim?
You may have heard the term “medical malpractice” in your favorite hospital or legal drama, but the fact is that what constitutes “medical malpractice” legally is very different from what constitutes “medical malpractice” on television.
Let’s look at what a medical malpractice claim isn’t. First, a medical malpractice claim isn’t based on risk. All patients assume some amount of risk when undergoing medical treatment or using a medical prescription. Doctors and nurses cannot be responsible for adverse side effects that are listed on medicine labels or outlined before you agree to surgery. Each human body is different, and it’s impossible to accurately predict how each person will react to every form of medical treatment.
Second, a medical malpractice claim isn’t based on a medical mistake. This is typically where things get frustrating. We trust our Muncie medical professionals to give us the best care possible. But Muncie medical professionals are humans like the rest of us, and mistakes happen. Although procedures are in place in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies to minimize the likelihood of mistakes, they still occur. Just because a medical professional made a mistake, even a verifiable one, doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical malpractice claim.
So what is a medical malpractice claim? Legally speaking, medical malpractice occurs when a professional in the medical field neglects to perform his or her service at the level of ordinary skill or neglects his or her duty, and the patient suffers from injury or death as a direct result.
That means two things have to happen in order for you to have a viable medical malpractice claim in Indiana: a medical professional must be negligent in their duty, and their patient must suffer directly due to that negligence.
That’s why not all medical mistakes result in medical malpractice claims. A pharmacist can accidentally give a patient the wrong medicine, for example, but if the patient doesn’t suffer any harm, they likely won’t have a medical malpractice claim. Similarly, if a patient dies on the operating table due to an unforeseen complication but the surgeon performed at the accepted standard of medical care, that likely wouldn’t result in a medical malpractice claim either.
With such a narrow definition, it can be difficult to know whether or not you should file a medical malpractice claim. A Muncie medical malpractice attorney can take a look at the details of your case and help you determine what options you may have for recovery.