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What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice lawsuits seek accountability when a health care provider fails to meet the standard of care, and as a result, an individual suffers significant injuries or even death. In other words, it is a lawsuit that holds a doctor responsible for their negligence or failure to act in a way that another nurse, physician, or hospital would have in the same situation.

“Medical Malpractice cases all center around what’s called the standard of care,” says Bostwick & Peterson founding partner James Bostwick. “These standards are set by other nurses, physicians, or medical experts in their field.”

The standard of care is a provider’s duty to act within the accepted standards of their specialty and in a manner that other reasonably skilled and knowledgeable providers would act. However, this standard may differ depending on the patient’s medical history, condition, treatment, and other circumstances.

Examples of Medical Malpractice cases include:

How Do You Know If Your Doctor Was Negligent?

Determining whether your doctor was negligent will depend on the specific facts of your case. A medical malpractice attorney can help determine whether the doctor deviated from the standard of care. They can investigate exactly what happened, review your medical records, and work with medical experts to evaluate the quality of care provided.

“The fact that it sounds like something that shouldn’t have happened or the fact that it’s a bad result, that does not mean it’s malpractice. It’s only malpractice if it’s something that another physician of the same specialty says is a breach of the standard of care,” says Attorney James Bostwick. “You need to prove that there’s a breach of the standard, and you need to prove that that caused the injury we are suing for.”

In addition to proving negligence, plaintiffs must also prove causation and damages. When bringing a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must show:

1) The healthcare provider owed the patient a duty of care,

2) The provider breached their duty of care, typically due to negligence or medical errors,

3) The provider’s medical negligence was a substantial cause of the plaintiff’s injury, and

4) The plaintiff suffered significant harm because of the provider's negligence.

If the health care provider acts negligently but the individual was not harmed, it is unlikely they will have a strong case. If they suffered significant harm because of a medical error, they should start working with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

What Compensation Can You Recover in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Victims of medical malpractice have a legal right to recover financial compensation for their hospital bills, medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional suffering, future medical or rehabilitative care, assistive care, and other damages.

It is important to note, though, that no matter the type of injury, medical malpractice victims have a limited amount of time to file their claim. Under California law, the injured person has one year from the date the injury was discovered or within three years from the date the injury took place – whichever comes first. This is called the Statute of Limitations. There are some exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, if a victim waits too long to file, a judge will dismiss their case. This is why it is imperative to contact a knowledgeable and experienced medical malpractice attorney to help you navigate legal complications including time restrictions.

Have Questions? Contact the Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson

Doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, doctors, and other medical professionals are all held to a high standard of care to protect their patients. If they do not uphold that standard, they may be held liable for their actions. If you or a loved one have suffered harm because of medical negligence, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

At Bostwick & Peterson, our attorneys have won more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. We have set several local, state, and national records with our case results. Our San Francisco medical malpractice lawyers help our clients navigate through complex times, and we do everything we can to ensure they are properly compensated.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys, call (888) 831-8448 or use our online contact form.