How Do I Know if I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Noble McIntyre on March 4, 2014

Medical malpractice can be a scary concept. For one thing, you could be dealing with an ailment that requires ongoing treatment. Second, you might be hesitant to raise the question of medical malpractice with your physician. Especially if it’s a physician whom you trust and who you’ve been seeing for many years, it could seem implausible that malpractice could have occurred, or even embarrassing to inquire about.

Medical malpractice is based on a doctor’s failure to diagnose a condition, misdiagnosis, medication errors, negligent behavior or mistakes during treatment or procedures, or mistakes during childbirth.

However, if you or a loved one has suffered or continues to suffer because of a medical provider’s mistakes, you’re entitled to compensation. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at McIntyre Law, P.C. can help you to get it.

When you consult an attorney regarding a medical malpractice claim, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What were the circumstances surrounding your illness or injury?
  • What was your physician’s method of treatment?
  • What information did your doctor provide about the treatment, possible side effects, long-term effects, etc.?
  • Did you follow the doctor’s instructions?
  • What happened to you as a result of the treatment?

As well, the attorney will likely ask you to tell him exactly what happened, from your first doctor’s visit until your most recent contact with him or her. Ultimately, it could be up to a jury to determine whether the physician followed standard medical practice or if your treatment was below the accepted standard of care. Expert testimony regarding the standard of care will be presented to the jury to contrast with the care that was actually provided so that the jury can determine whether the doctor was within the acceptable realm. Generally, a specialist will be held to a higher standard of care than a generalist. In other words, a heart surgeon would be expected to treat a heart ailment more specifically and knowledgeably than a non-specialist.

Be aware, though, that a medical result can never be guaranteed. Sometimes, complications occur and a surgery or procedure doesn’t yield the desired result. In order to have a claim, you would have to prove that the doctor deviated from the appropriate standard of care during the course of your treatment.

According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, for each year during the study period, while 7.4% of all physicians had a malpractice claim, 78% of those did not result in payment to claimants. That said, though, in 2012, over $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice payouts, which averages to one payout every 43 minutes.

If you think that you’re a victim of medical malpractice, don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions, and if something doesn’t seem right, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. While we all like to have a provider with whom we feel comfortable and have a long-standing relationship, your health is too important for you to look the other way if you think that something has been mishandled. Call us, and we can give you the guidance you need for your next steps in assessing what can be a tricky and painful situation.

090408-N-6651N-001 by isafmedia, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  isafmedia



American Bar Association

The New England Journal of Medicine

Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law who focuses primarily on drug litigation and catastrophic injury cases. He is currently representing clients injured by the drugs Paxil, Levaquin and testosterone therapy drugs and by clients affected by oil field injuries. His goal has and continues to be to work diligently on behalf of his clients to achieve the highest and best result for his clients’ injuries while maintaining professionalism and abiding by all ethical standards of his profession. Read more about Noble McIntyre.

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