Home Doctors Can I Sue My Doctor for Malpractice? What You Need to Know

Can I Sue My Doctor for Malpractice? What You Need to Know

The main reason for going to the doctor is to seek treatment for any condition that ails us, or at least to ensure that we are in good health. Conversely, doctors have the responsibility to make sure that we are cured of the disease and that we are as healthy as possible. In fact, it is part of the Hippocratic Oath.

However, there are times when doctors make things worse rather than better. Rather than cure, harm may be done to the patient. This can be done with malicious intent, but are more commonly made due to mistakes. These types of mistakes, though, can be a matter of life and death.

That is the reason why patients who think that medical negligence has caused them or a third party harm can sue for medical malpractice. This is a fairly common type of lawsuit that exists in all countries, Australia included. Here’s what you need to know about medical malpractice and what you would need in case you want to sue.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when there is a deviation from what can be agreed upon to be the standard of care that should be done once a person has been accepted as a patient. Basically, anything that is omitted or changed from standard protocols of health care is considered as medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice, shockingly, is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. However, there are times wherein no harm falls upon the patient despite these incidents. Still, the high rate of deaths due to medical malpractice is very alarming.

Medical malpractice is a very common occurrence, and it can happen to even the most senior professionals. Reasons for this can vary, ranging from making shortcuts to the protocol or simple mistakes. The most common forms of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Error in prescribing medication
  • Flaws in medical equipment or tools
  • Mistakes made during surgery
  • Miscalculating dosages
  • Infection
  • Not getting informed consent

Any of the situations mentioned above, as well as any acts of health workers that can cause harm to a patient during treatment or even as complications of such acts, can be construed as forms of medical malpractice.

What are the Grounds for Medical Malpractice?

Under Australian law, you can sue for medical malpractice if there is negligence on the part of the doctor that is treating you. This also extends towards any and all entities involved in treatment, including nurses, clinics, pharmacists, and hospitals.

In order to establish that there was medical negligence involved, you must prove three things, namely:

  • Duty of care was owed
  • Breach of duty was made
  • Breach of duty caused harm to the patient or others

Duty of care simply means, without going into much detail, that there is a doctor-patient relationship involved. Having a doctor take on your case makes the doctor implicitly agree that he will do what is necessary to make you better and to not cause harm.

Breach of duty must be established for medical negligence to be proven as well. This means that the doctor treated you in a way that other specialists would deem unacceptable. This can be due to omission or failure to act as part of the standards required.

Lastly, you must prove that harm was directly incurred as a consequence of the breach of duty. Harm, in this context, can be physical, emotional, or financial in nature. Harm incurred does not necessarily have to be on the patient directly, as there are instances wherein others, such as family, friends, or even bystanders, can be affected by these breached.

It is also important to note that damages need not be incurred immediately after treatment. For as long as harm claimed in the lawsuit can be directly attributed to the breach of duty, then it can be considered by the courts.

If the three points mentioned above have been established, then you can have the evidence necessary to file a medical malpractice suit.

How Much Can You Get from Medical Malpractice Suits?

How much you will sue for in a medical malpractice suit will depend on several factors, such as the severity of the damage caused by the act. Typically, you can sue for the amount of the additional medical bills incurred to correct complications as well as the lost opportunities caused by the situation such as lost wages.

You can also sue for the physical pain and mental anguish that the damages have caused you. Of course, these can be a little bit difficult to quantify. In these types of scenarios, having a lawyer or law firm advise you can be a big help in order to determine how much you can claim from a lawsuit.

Take note, too, that doctors will probably not pay for anything that you win from the case out of pocket. Australian law requires that doctors have professional indemnity insurance against these types of claims. Insurance companies will pay out whatever amount is awarded to you in court on behalf of their clients.

More often than not, doctors and hospitals will also choose to settle out of court. Of course, this would probably net you a lower value than what you are asking for. Still, your lawyer will discuss your alternatives and provide you with advice on whether it would be better to take the settlement. This can also help you avoid further anguish if the case goes to court for a lengthy trial.

Where Can You File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

There are many law firms in Australia that specialize in filing medical malpractice claims. They are the ones well equipped with the knowledge and experience in determining whether there are ground to file a suit, and how much you would be able to get from suing.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice, then it is your right to sue and demand for what you deserve. You can look for lawyers that can help you file a case, or you can seek referrals to find the best ones that can help you make a substantial claim.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Tips to Use Instagram for Medical Practices

Almost 80 million photos are being posted on Instagram each day. These come from celebrities, influencers, and regular people as well. However,...

Starting a Medical Practice Checklist

So you want to start your own medical practice? Congratulations! Having a private practice can be very rewarding in many ways. However,...

Types of Insurance That You Need to Have for Your Medical Practice

Insurance is a very important thing to have both personally and in business. This is especially true if you have a medical...

How to Develop Content Marketing Materials for Your Medical Practice

Content marketing is the future of online marketing. The trend now is no longer about just plain sales and marketing materials that...

Social Media Marketing for Medical Practices

Social media is a very powerful tool for reaching a very wide audience. It serves many purposes, but it all leads to...

Why Do You Need to Use Digital Marketing for Your Medical Practice?

The goal of any business, whether it be a medical practice or otherwise, is to gain profit. To gain profit, aside from...

How to Create a Business Plan for Medical Practice

If you want to create your own medical practice, know that it can be a very difficult process. However, it's only the...

The Relevance of Bookkeeping for Medical Practices

A hospital or medical practice’s main function is to provide quality health care to patients, and everything else is secondary. Being able...

How to Effectively Do Marketing For Medical Practice

We currently live in a world where marketing is king. How you handle your marketing can determine your client share in the...

Accounting for Medical Practices – What You Need to Know

While hospitals and private practices need to focus on their core responsibility which is providing health care services, other required processes must...

How to Implement Risk Management in Medical Practices

Lawsuits and other major issues are the banes of any organization. This holds true especially when it comes to the healthcare industry....

Softwares for Medical Practices – What Should They Contain?

Gone are the days where hospitals and private doctors stored and maintained multiple folders in rooms of cabinets. Everything is digitized nowadays,...

Public Health Issues Being Faced by Australians

Australia is considered to have one of the best health care systems in the world. It has consistently been ranked to be...

How Telehealth Psychology Impacts Mental Health

Telehealth has done wonders towards improving the quality of life for the general public. Especially now when social distancing is necessary to...

Doctors Without Borders – Who Are They?

The world can be a difficult place to live in, especially with several environmental, civil, and political turmoil that most countries are...

Non-Communicable Diseases and Why You Should be Concerned

While the world is still reeling from COVID 19, we should not forget that we are in danger of more conditions that...

Health Issues Women Should Watch Out For

While diseases such as cardiovascular conditions and diabetes are fairly common for people of all genders, women must take even more care...

Telehealth and Nursing – Promoting Good Health Together

Telehealth is a wonderful piece of technology that can provide numerous benefits, not only for patients but for doctors as well. Nurses,...

Understanding Medical Law – What is it About?

Medical law is a type of philosophy that is often misunderstood. Is a medical lawyer a doctor or a lawyer? What is...

Medicare and Telehealth – Are You Protected?

Medicare is the foundation of the Australian health care system. It is used to help covers for the cost of healthcare among...

Can I Sue My Doctor for Malpractice? What You Need to Know

The main reason for going to the doctor is to seek treatment for any condition that ails us, or at least to...

8 Types of Medical Doctors – What Do They Do?

A vast majority of us have a family doctor and, if we are lucky enough, they would be the only one tending...

Australian Health Care System: An Overview

Living in Australia certainly has some advantages, and access to good quality health care is definitely one of them. Australians enjoy one...

Medical Malpractice Demystified

What Is Medical Malpractice? Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, a hospital, or a health care specialist hurt...

Top 5 Countries With The Best Healthcare System

Access to health care is a basic human right. Everyone deserves to have access to good health care, and many governments prioritize...