Going to the doctor can be a scary experience for many people. What’s even scarier is that even the greatest health professionals in the world can make mistakes. Some of these mistakes can have devastating consequences. In New York, victims of these mistakes and their families can sometimes file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or medical professional that made the mistake. While nothing will make up for the pain and suffering caused, the damages from the lawsuit can help you and your family move forward from this tragedy.
When a medical professional behaves negligently, their actions can be deemed medical malpractice. However, not all medical negligence leads to a viable cause of action. In order for a victim to have a valid case, there must be a duty owed to someone, a breach of that duty and resulting harm proximately caused by the breach.
Physicians typically owe a duty of care to patients. While doctors do not always have a duty to assist the sick, once they voluntarily take on that responsibility, a doctor-patient relationship is established, and therefore so is the duty. The breach of the duty can be shown if the doctor does not treat the patient with the care expected of a reasonably competent physician under similar circumstances. Causation is shown by determining whether the harm to the patient would have occurred “but for” the negligence that occurred. If the injury would have occurred with or without the doctor’s negligence, the victim may not have a valid case.
If a victim can show duty, breach, causation and damages, the medical professional may be found liable and have to pay damages. The financial help provided can help those who have suffered due to the mistakes of a trusted health care professional.
Source: FindLaw, “Medical Malpractice Overview,” accessed on Sept. 15, 2014