What Is Meant By a “Breach of the Standard of Care” in a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are tasked with protecting our lives and wellbeing. Although the vast majority of them always do their best, careless mistakes can happen, either due to negligence or issues with understaffing. If a medical professional doesn’t use all possible resources to uphold an appropriate standard of care, you can file a malpractice lawsuit in Baltimore to make up for your losses.
After a faulty diagnosis, inappropriate or insufficient treatment, or a medical error, you might be struggling with significant damage to your health. This can affect all areas of your life, from your work to the time you spend with your family. By hiring a competent and experienced attorney who is familiar with your local area, you can claim the compensation necessary to rebuild your life and make sure that your family is provided for.
The Standard of Care
Everyone working in healthcare has a duty to comply with an appropriate standard of care, which means that they have to treat patients using all of the information and resources that are currently available to them. That’s why you can expect the same level of care from all physicians who work in a similar practice, no matter where you go in the country. For example, all pediatricians with a private practice will provide your children with a similar level of treatment.
Unfortunately, medical professionals don’t always comply with this standard of care. Sometimes, they might make a careless error, misdiagnose you, or fail to treat you to the best of their ability. Such mistakes can cause severe illness or even death, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly. In Baltimore, you can file a malpractice lawsuit to hold the relevant party accountable.
Not Making Use of Resources
In its essence, a breach of the standard of care happens when the professional involved doesn’t use the requisite resources, experience, knowledge and training to treat you. For example, you might come to a clinic or hospital with certain symptoms that warrant extensive testing in order to rule out significant illness. Sometimes, a doctor has all the relevant diagnostic machines available, but they choose not to test you and simply diagnose you with a mild condition.
If it turns out that you were suffering from something more severe, you might be able to file a lawsuit. Most of the time, malpractice is simply a mistake. It often happens when the hospital or clinic is understaffed and the physicians are exhausted, so they try to treat their patients too quickly. However, such events should still have legal repercussions because they can be so damaging to the patients involved.
Making Careless Errors
A breach also happens when your physician uses resources appropriately but makes an error due to carelessness. For example, you might go to the clinic for cosmetic surgery, and the physician doesn’t do a good job because they are tired or they are working too quickly. If you suffer significant injuries as a result of this, it’s considered a breach of the standard of care.
Delaying Treatment Unnecessarily
Medication, lab testing, and treatment for a condition should always be provided to you in a timely manner. Because there is so much demand for medical care, the majority of Americans will experience delayed treatment at some point in their lives. If your doctor fails to provide you with the necessary care quickly, you can sometimes sue them, as any delays can cause damage to your wellbeing.
However, you’ll need to make sure that the delay affected your life before you proceed. Most cases that don’t involve serious injuries or consequences won’t hold up in court. Interestingly, you might also have grounds for a lawsuit if your doctor treats you unnecessarily and suggests interventions that you don’t need, simply for their own financial gain. In both cases, you should get in touch with a local attorney as soon as possible.
Faulty Diagnosis or Treatment
The result of most breaches of the standard of care is either a faulty diagnosis or an inadequate treatment of your condition. For example, doctors sometimes fail to pick up on the signs of a stroke, particularly in young and healthy patients. This can have repercussions for the rest of the person’s life, and it can sometimes even cause their death.
Similarly, a faulty diagnosis of cancer leads to damaging treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, which weaken the body’s natural immune system and affect the patient’s health in the long term. If, on the other hand, cancer wasn’t diagnosed on time, the patient might now have a much larger tumor that’s harder to get rid of.
When Can You File a Malpractice Lawsuit in Baltimore?
People who have been the victims of a breach of the standard of care can file a lawsuit and gain compensation for the losses they have suffered as a result of the medical professional’s mistake. The money from this will serve to pay for the medical expenses and consequences of their injuries, for example, job loss or a decline in quality of life. With the help of an attorney, such patients can find the evidence they need and fight for their rights.
Getting Treatment First
No matter what your financial situation is, you should always get the treatment you need after you’ve suffered at the hands of a medical professional. The better your care, the faster you’ll be able to get back to work and your other commitments. Don’t delay or minimize your treatment because of financial worries, as the person at fault will most likely have to pay for it.
Contacting a Lawyer
Once you’re feeling a bit better, you can contact a local lawyer to start filing your lawsuit. Make sure to choose someone who has experience in the field of medical malpractice and who has been practicing law in your state for several years. Your attorney will have the contacts, resources, and knowledge to help you succeed and gain the compensation you need to rebuild your life.
Finding Sufficient Proof and Fighting for Your Rights
Your lawyer will speak to you about what you need to do to prove your right to compensation. Not only will you need to document that there was a breach in the standard of care, but also that you were significantly affected by this mistake. For this reason, your medical records and bills are crucial. Once you’ve collected all the proof you need, your attorney will work with you to lay out your case in the best way possible.
Medical malpractice is a large field, but most cases involve a breach of the standard of care, which means that the medical professional involved didn’t use all possible resources and knowledge to treat the patient. Although this isn’t usually malicious, it can significantly affect your life, so getting adequate treatment and then filing a malpractice lawsuit is the best way forward for most people.
To make the best of your case and receive maximum compensation, you should contact a well-qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer who’ll guide you throughout the process. They will help you to find proof and fight for your rights, so you can cover your medical bills and the losses incurred by the incident. Get in touch with us at Peter Angelos Law in Baltimore, MD to book your initial consultation and speak to one of our professionals.