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Do I have a medical malpractice case?

With medical errors the third leading cause of death in the United States (behind cancer and heart disease), when a visit to the doctor doesn’t go as expected, many people wonder – am I the victim of medical malpractice? The answer to this question is complex, and depends on a variety of factors. In general, it may be possible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit where a medical professional – a doctor, nurse, or hospital staff, makes an error or acts below the standard of care, and as a result of that error, the patient suffers harm. A crucial component in the analysis is whether lasting harm occurs. Where errors occur, but the patient isn’t harmed, generally a medical malpractice suit is not viable. However, if your doctor makes a mistake that results in a patient’s death, or leaves them with serious, catastrophic life-long injuries, then you should consider contacting an experienced California medical malpractice lawyer to begin an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his or her care.

Some factors to consider include whether a doctor patient relationship was established. Did the patient see the doctor at a scheduled appointment, an emergency room visit or other defined medical visit, or did the patient casually ask a friend who is a doctor for medical advice? In order to assert a claim of medical malpractice, a doctor/patient relationship must exist. Additionally, you must be able to show that the doctor or other health professional did not act in accordance with how other medical professionals would have acted in similar circumstances (breached the standard of care). This is typically established by obtaining an expert opinion based on a review of the medical records. Further, the patient must have suffered harm because of the error. It is not enough to show that a doctor made a mistake. To bring a successful medical malpractice action, you need to prove that your condition worsened or was the result of medical error.

For more information, or if you believe that you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of a preventable medical mistake, please contact the dedicated California medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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