The basic legal definition of medical malpractice is "professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice..."
What does that mean? Simply, that a physician, hospital, HMO or other healthcare provider didn't follow established patient safety rules. Every profession, trade or walk of life has rules, and doctors and hospitals are no different.
Medical malpractice cases hold those health care providers accountable for violating the standard of care (breaking those rules and harming the patient).
And medical malpractice is always preventable.
Are You Eligible?
Most people start with a suspicion that something went wrong - it shouldn't have happened. That suspicion should lead to action - an investigation of the medical treatment, condition and injury. Once you determine that the doctor or hospital didn't follow patient safety rules and that caused the harm (through a thorough review and analysis by experts and specialists), you and your family will be able to make an informed decision about the strength of your medical malpractice case.
After the formal investigation we conduct, we'll give you advice on the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
D.C., Maryland and Virginia all have different medical malpractice laws, procedures and damages available, so we will discuss the specifics of your case depending on where the malpractice occurred.
We'll also listen and discuss your harms, losses and what you will need now and in the future that can be helped by a successful medical malpractice case.
Causation and Damages
Causation means that the medical malpractice (sometimes called medical negligence, breach of the standard of care, sub-standard medical care) led to the harms. For example, a hospital intern didn't call the attending OB to deliver a baby when the fetal monitoring strips and other evidence showed the baby was in fetal distress. By the time the baby was delivered, he suffered a lack of oxygen and cerebral palsy or brain damage. The malpractice (not recognizing the fetal distress and calling in the experienced doctor or delivering the baby by c-section) caused the boy's cerebral palsy or other medical condition.
Statute of Limitations
Not only do D.C., Maryland and Virginia have time limits for filing a medical malpractice case, these cases take time to properly investigate and develop.
So give yourself and your family plenty of time to get the information and answers you need.
Find the right medical malpractice lawyer for you and your family.
The best way to build a strong case is to work with the right lawyers. In our view, you need someone you can trust, rely on and work with on the day to day aspects of your case and the long term goals - in the end, a malpractice case is about helping you and your family get the resources to make things better after a devastating injury or medical condition.
So order one of our free guides, books or reports - that is always a good start. And if you are interviewing lawyers (you should), download our Medical Malpractice Lawyer Evaluation Form. It can help you make this important decision.
For specific questions on your situation, call us and we'll do our best to answer your questions.
But take action for yourself and your family. Don't wait - we have to turn people away every year (people with legitimate, serious medical malpractice cases) because they waited too long.