Medical malpractice cases involve a lot of legal terminology that may sound complicated or confusing to the average person. At LawMD, our medical malpractice lawyers make sure our clients understand what is happening during every stage of their case. We start by explaining the process and letting you know what you can expect.
The “standard of care” is one of the most fundamental concepts in any medical mistake case. Here, we’ve outlined exactly what the standard of care is and how it applies to your case.
Sometimes, outcomes in surgeries and other health care procedures are unfavorable. Just because a patient did not get a satisfactory result or a disease or illness did not respond to treatment does not necessarily mean the patient has a medical malpractice claim. To establish medical malpractice, the patient must first establish the proper standard of care in his or her case. The patient must then show that the doctor failed to deliver that standard of care.
Standard of care is defined as the level of care a doctor in the same discipline and in the same geographical region would have delivered in similar circumstances.
For example, it’s not fair to compare the actions of an orthopedic surgeon to those of a pediatrician. These are specialty areas, and these types of physicians are skilled in diagnosing disease and treating conditions in specific areas of the body or in specific types of patients. Similarly, you would not compare the treatment provided by a doctor in Los Angeles with that of a doctor in a remote part of Alaska.
Reasonable care does not mean perfect care. It’s an important difference, and one that courts examine closely. No doctor can provide perfect, risk-free care. However, some risks and complications should never happen under any circumstances.
Many states, including Maryland, require medical malpractice plaintiffs to submit a “certificate of merit” from a medical expert who has examined the facts of the case and is willing to testify that the doctor in question deviated from the accepted standard. Many medical malpractice cases depend on the validity of the expert’s opinion. The certificate of merit requirement is designed to weed out frivolous medical malpractice cases, and many insurance defense attorneys challenge them in an effort to get a case dismissed before it has even gotten off the ground. It is important to work with lawyers who know how to identify the best experts for your particular case.
Proving a doctor failed to deliver the appropriate standard of care is rarely an easy task. Bringing a successful case requires not only considerable trial skills but also a deep knowledge of medical issues. Because many of our lawyers are also doctors, we don’t need to rely on outside resources to build a case. Our physician-attorneys have the clinical experience and medical training to examine what happened in your case and determine the best way to present it to the trier of fact.
We also have the respect of our peers in both the legal and medical fields. We know where to turn for expert analysis, and we frequently collaborate with renowned practitioners in a variety of medical specialties.
Have you been hurt by a doctor’s mistake? Perhaps you have been told your symptoms are normal or that you are exaggerating your pain or discomfort. When you know something just isn’t right, being turned away repeatedly is like being injured all over again. Contact our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers who can help you.