Medical Malpractice

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Miller, Stillman & Bartel

The TERM "malpractice" is often misunderstood. Some people wrongly assume that every medical complication is the result of malpractice. Others think that a doctor commits malpractice only if he or she intentionally causes injury, or behaves in a totally reckless manner. The truth lies between these two extremes.The terms "malpractice" and "negligence" generally mean the same thing. "Negligence" is a failure to use reasonable care to avoid injuring someone else. For example, someone who accidentally drives through a red light is negligent, even though they did not intend to do so and are generally careful when they drive. "Medical malpractice" is simply "negligence" on the part of a professional, such as a doctor, dentist or hospital employee. Like the rest of us doctors and other professionals are responsible if they negligently cause injury, even if they are otherwise competent and careful in their work. In fact, most malpractices cases involved doctors and nurses who are qualified and generally careful, but who nonetheless cause a serious injury to their patient through an isolated act of carelessness or "negligence".

There are times when a patient may suffer a medical complication through no fault of the physician or hospital. Although the injury may be serious, there has been no "malpractice", and hence there is no case. Many lay people - and more than few lawyers - make the mistake of assuming that proof of a medical complication is proof of medical malpractice. When this type of case is filed, it is almost always unsuccessful, and can be emotionally and financially harmful to the already-suffering patient. It is also unfair to the doctor or hospital that is sued without good reason. An experienced medical negligence attorney is skilled at "screening" cases early on in order to avoid pursuing claims which have no merit.

Once a meritorious case has been identified, it must still be proven to the satisfaction of the doctor or hospital, their malpractice insurance company - and sometimes to a jury. While "malpractice" is just "negligence" by another name, proving medical malpractice is far more difficult than proving that a driver ran a stop sign. Malpractice litigation is serious business. The defendant physician may feel that his very reputation is at stake, and will often deny any responsibility and seek his or her "day in court". Specialized malpractice insurance companies hire only experienced attorneys, and generally mount an aggressive defense. To prevail, the injured patient must have an attorney with the experience and resources necessary to prove the case.Type your paragraph here.

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