Realizing that you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice can be an extremely terrifying experience. Visiting a doctor or another medical professional comes with a level of trust that they will take all necessary steps to avoid any unnecessary harm while providing you with the care and treatment that you require. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and you may find that your doctor or other trusted medical professional acted recklessly or negligently in a way that caused injury to you or a loved one.
Read more below about medical malpractice, and contact us now to be connected with an attorney who will take your case as soon as possible.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
The most simple definition of medical malpractice is this: If a medical provider acts recklessly or negligently and this behavior causes injury to a patient, then the provider is guilty of medical malpractice, and the victim is entitled to compensation. As you can imagine based on this very broad definition, there are many scenarios that qualify as medical malpractice, as long as the injury took place at a licensed medical facility or under the direction of a licensed medical professional. The following are just a few examples of medical malpractice:
It may seem ridiculous to think about, but surgical mix-ups are more common than we would like to think. When you go into surgery, the last thing that you should be worried about is that you will realize that you got the wrong procedure, that the medical staff left tools in your body, or any other easily-avoidable mistake. The distress and trauma that comes with this experience are significant by themselves, and the reality is that this mistake will require more costly medical intervention, recovery time, and possibly permanent injuries.
When your doctor prescribes a medication to you, there is a lot that they need to consider when making this decision. Prescriptions of any sort have side effects, and if you have pre-existing conditions that could be exasperated by these side effects, or if you are taking other medications that can cause dangerous drug interactions, it is your doctor’s responsibility to avoid these injuries. In addition, pharmacists are expected to provide you with the proper dosage of the right medication, which unfortunately is not guaranteed to happen.
Failure to Diagnose
With any serious diagnosis that you receive from a medical professional, it is absolutely essential that you seek out a second opinion before committing to any treatment or procedure. However, a failure to diagnose (or failure to accurately diagnose) a disease or illness is an example of medical malpractice that must be taken very seriously. If you are treated for the wrong issue or do not receive treatment at all, then your symptoms will get worse at the same time that you are exposed to unnecessary treatment.
Improper Treatment Practices
Medical professionals are required to abide by a standard of reasonable care, which means that they will abide by the prevailing wisdom available in their specialty in order to give care to their patients while causing as little harm as possible. If a medical professional uses rejected practices, alternative methods, or any other treatment that goes against the common wisdom and the available information, they may likely be guilty of medical malpractice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice in Washington DC
The following are just a few very common questions that victims of medical malpractice seek answers for at the start of their legal process. The answers below are meant to give you a general idea of how your question will be answered by a lawyer, but keep in mind that the only way to get a specific answer about your case is to discuss these questions in detail with a lawyer.
Am I a victim of medical malpractice?
The first section of this page is meant to provide you with a brief overview of some factors that can indicate whether or not medical malpractice has occurred, as well as a few common examples. However, the medical industry is broad, and the possible ways that someone can suffer from this type of malpractice are numerous, so one proven way to determine whether or not this is the case is to contact a lawyer today.
When should I hire an attorney after suffering because of medical malpractice?
The sooner you are working with a lawyer, the sooner you will be able to set aside the administrative stress of your medical malpractice case and begin focusing all of your attention on recovery. In the first days of a medical malpractice injury, you should be able to take time to understand your situation and how to rectify it without needing to worry about the legal aspects of this case.
How much is my medical malpractice case worth?
Determining how much your medical malpractice case is worth is something that should be left to the work that you and your attorney will do since there are so many specifics that go into the final determination. However, it is important to note that there no damage cap for non-economic damages in Washington DC medical malpractice cases, meaning that you and your attorney will be able to seek the full amount for your suffering without worrying about an arbitrary limitation set by the courts.
What is Washington DC’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims?
Once you become aware of your injury (which is not necessarily the same date as when the injury occurred), you have three years to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible party. If you suspect that something has gone wrong with your treatment or care, get in touch with a lawyer immediately so that they can guide you through the next steps, such as working with another doctor to confirm your suspicions and begin building a case.
What is informed consent, and what role does it play in a medical malpractice case?
Informed consent is a legal term for when a medical professional discloses all of the potential risks of a procedure to a patient, and the patient gives their consent for the procedure after understanding these risks. If you have undergone a procedure and suffered a negative consequence that your doctor did not inform you of, then this situation is worth a look with an attorney regardless of how confident you are that medical malpractice took place.