How Do I Know If My Injury Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Medical professionals are not expected to be infallible and there may be poor results from treatment that do not amount to malpractice. Medical professionals are expected to exercise the basic knowledge, skills, and care ordinarily possessed and exercised by other members of the profession acting under similar conditions and circumstances. This basic knowledge and skill is called a standard of practice, or standard of care. When a medical professional treats a patient and fails to use this basic knowledge, skill, and care whether the failure consists of doing something incorrectly, or failing to do something that should be done, that failure is a deviation from the standard of practice or care.

To prove that a physician or other health care provider has been negligent, the patient must introduce evidence showing that the alleged actions of the health care provider represented a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for that health care provider. The standard of skill and care required of every health care provider in rendering professional services or health care to a patient is defined as that degree of skill and care ordinarily employed in the same or similar field of medicine as defendant, and the use of reasonable care and diligence.

It is important to note that medical malpractice claims are very difficult to prevail in. In an effort to prevent cases from advancing to litigation, Delaware established a system of mandatory malpractice review panels to advise the court on whether the evidence supports a conclusion that the defendant failed to comply with the standard of care. Expert testimony is generally required to establish a claim for medical malpractice unless the medical negligence review panel`s findings of negligence can be introduced into evidence, or when the injury is caused by a foreign object left in the body or by surgery on the wrong body part. These types of actions are also extremely expensive partly due to the need for qualified expert review and testimony. Whether or not you have a good case depends on the professional judgment of attorneys and medical experts. If you are told that you do not have a case with merit, you should seek another opinion from one or more other attorneys.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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