How Do You Know If You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
Anytime you go to the doctor, you expect your healthcare provider to deliver the care you need. You rely on your doctor to make the right call based on their education and medical expertise. However, remember that healthcare professionals aren’t infallible, and even the most experienced can make mistakes, oversights, and other errors.
If you see a healthcare professional and suspect something isn’t right, you may wonder if you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice. The only way to know for sure whether you have a valid claim is to work with attorneys who can thoroughly investigate what happened.
However, you can also educate yourself on the warning signs. If one of the following describes your experience with your doctor or healthcare provider, you may have a medical malpractice claim.
Recognizing Medical Malpractice: 5 Common Signs
Medical malpractice can take many forms. Some of the most common signs you should be aware of include:
1. Unexpected Results or Lack of Results after Treatment
Your doctor’s decisions on your treatment should help you get better. One sign of malpractice is experiencing an unexpected or adverse reaction after a medical procedure or treatment. This could include complications, worsening of the condition, or new symptoms that weren’t anticipated.
Not seeing results within a reasonable time could also be a sign of a mistake. If your injury or illness isn’t getting any better despite treatment, it could indicate that an error has been made in your diagnosis or care plan.
2. Lack of Informed Consent
You have the right to be fully informed of a medical procedure or treatment’s risks, potential complications, and benefits. If a healthcare provider fails to obtain informed consent or misrepresents the risks involved, it could be a sign of malpractice.
There may be a lack of informed consent if:
- Your doctor performed a procedure you did not agree to.
- You wouldn’t have agreed to the treatment or chosen an alternative if the doctor had thoroughly explained the risks.
Exceptions may apply, such as in emergencies where taking the time to fully explain the treatment isn’t possible. But even if you signed a consent form, you may still have a claim to hold the medical provider liable for negligence.
3. No Follow-Up from Your Doctor
Your doctor should always take your concerns seriously and answer any questions you have. If your doctor isn’t communicating clearly and following up, you aren’t receiving the attention you deserve.
With understaffing still plaguing the healthcare industry, poor communication can be unfortunately common as providers try to meet the high demand for care. This can lead to problems in communicating with patients and other team members, especially in handoffs or transitions of care.
Misunderstandings, delays in diagnosis or additional treatment could lead to harm. For example, if test results aren’t communicated promptly, and follow-up treatment goes unscheduled, the delays could cause your condition to worsen.
4. Your Treatment Plan Doesn’t Fit Your Illness or Injury
Some medical errors result from providers administering unnecessary or overly invasive treatments. More involved procedures should be a last resort if less invasive ones don’t help.
If you think there’s a mismatch between the severity of your illness or injury and the intensity of your treatment plan and you’ve suffered harm as a result, get a second opinion. If your doctor is doing more than required, an outside opinion could support your claim later.
5. Failure to Meet the Standard of Care
Medical professionals are expected to provide a standard of care, one that a reasonable and competent medical provider with a similar skillset would provide to a patient in any given set of circumstances. If a healthcare provider deviates from this standard and accepted medical practices or protocols and causes harm, it could constitute malpractice. This can involve:
- Failure to treat
- Failure to monitor
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia mistakes
What to Do if You Suspect Medical Malpractice
If you believe you’ve suffered medical malpractice, there are a few steps you should take to protect yourself and begin your claim. Keep organized records of your treatment, bills, and communications with your healthcare provider.
See another healthcare provider to evaluate your condition and make sure you don’t need immediate medical attention. Then, contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss the viability of your case and get advice on next steps. Many medical malpractice cases settle out of court, but your attorney will prepare for the possibility of trial. Your lawyer will handle each step of the process, keep you informed, and fight to recover compensation for the harm you suffered.
Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case? Call Atlee Hall Today
Medical malpractice cases are complicated. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a case, it’s best to contact a medical malpractice lawyer who can investigate what happened and explain your options.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, Atlee Hall can help. Our team has decades of experience with medical malpractice cases and a track record of success in helping victims recover the compensation they deserve.