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How Do You Know If You Have a Case for Medical Malpractice?

Exhausted surgeons after a long operation.

Doctors and other health care professionals frequently perform heroic, life-saving work, but they can also make life-threatening mistakes. Medical errors can leave patients severely injured. Some of the injuries are fatal. In one study, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine found that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

At the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates, our experienced Washington, D.C., medical malpractice legal team can help you determine if you have a case and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.

As a doctor and a lawyer, Dr. Michael M. Wilson has spent more than 30 years helping people with medical malpractice lawsuit claims. Our team has recovered more than $100 million in compensation for our clients. We’re committed to helping you seek justice for the losses you’ve endured.

Contact our office for a free initial consultation.

Signs That You May Have a Valid Washington, DC Medical Negligence Claim

If you don’t have medical training and the medical error responsible for your injury isn’t immediately apparent (such as in a wrong-site surgery), it can be challenging to know if you may have a case.

Here are a few signs to look for that could indicate you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice:

  • There was a lack of informed consent. Before you undergo any medical treatment procedure, your doctor should fully explain the risks and potential complications involved. That way, you know what to expect. One crucial fact about medical malpractice cases involving a lack of informed consent is that if you suffered actual harm, you do not necessarily need to prove that the doctor deviated from the standard of medical care. Exceptions may apply, such as in emergencies, but a lack of informed consent may exist if:
    • Your doctor performed a procedure on you that you did not agree to.
    • Your doctor failed to fully explain the risks of your treatment and, had they thoroughly explained the risks, you would have declined the treatment or chosen an alternative.
  • You’ve suffered severe complications from your treatment. If you suffer some kind of unusual outcome after receiving treatment, that could be a sign that your doctor or another provider made a mistake.
  • Your treatment isn’t working. If your injury or illness isn’t getting any better despite the treatment you’ve received, it may be a sign that a mistake has been made in your diagnosis or treatment.
  • Your doctor hasn’t followed up after you raised concerns. Your doctor should always be available to address any questions or concerns you have about your treatment, especially if you’re experiencing unusual or painful side effects.
  • Your treatment plan and the severity of your injury or illness don’t seem to match. Some medical errors result from providers performing unnecessary or overly invasive procedures and treatments. If the treatment you received appears to be excessive in relation to your condition, and you’ve suffered harm as a result, you may be the victim of medical malpractice.
  • The health care facility seems understaffed. When hospitals and other facilities are understaffed, it’s easy for providers to stretch themselves too thin, resulting in sloppy care for patients.
  • You have new symptoms. If you have new symptoms, especially if they’re symptoms you weren’t warned about, they could be a sign that your health care provider made a mistake in your diagnosis or treatment plan.

What Are the Odds of Winning a Medical Malpractice Suit?

Medical malpractice lawsuit cases are more complicated than other kinds of personal injury claims. That means that, without help from an experienced medical malpractice attorney, you could have a hard time winning your medical malpractice case.

One study in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research found that doctors prevail in about 50 percent of jury trials even with plaintiffs who have strong evidence of negligence. This means the injured patient received no compensation for their injuries.Defensive doctor talking to female lawyer.

That said, numerous clients do prevail in their claims. Having a seasoned attorney who knows what evidence to review and how to build a solid case can give you a decisive edge when pursuing your claim.

How Hard Is It to Prove Medical Malpractice?

If you want to claim compensation for your injuries, you’ll have to show that your medical provider did not meet the standard of medical care. That means your provider did not do what another medical professional with similar training and experience would have done in a case similar to yours.

To prove this, you’ll need to gather strong evidence of negligence, such as:

  • Your medical records and medical treatment history
  • Results from any lab tests related to your treatment
  • X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other tests
  • Testimony from expert medical witnesses

What Are the ‘Four Ds’ of Medical Negligence?

Healthcare quality and safety advocates have come with something known as the “4 D’s” of medical malpractice, which are:

  • Duty – The medical provider who treated you or the facility where you received treatment must have owed you a duty of care for you to have a case for medical negligence. Generally, this means showing you had an established patient relationship with the facility or provider.
  • Dereliction – Next, you must show that the provider or facility was derelict in their duty. This step involves proving that your provider or the facility did not live up to the medical standard of care.
  • Damages – To get compensation for medical negligence, you must have suffered some kind of damages, meaning you were injured in some way through the provider or facility’s conduct.
  • Direct cause – The last step in proving medical negligence is showing that your injuries were directly caused by the actions of the provider or facility. That can be one of the most difficult steps in your case, as special knowledge is often required to prove a causal link between your provider’s actions and your injuries.

Get Help from an Experienced Washington, DC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers from the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates today for a free initial consultation.

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