How Do I Know If I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

How Do I Know If I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?


Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed or injured by a medical professional or facility that fails to provide proper treatment, fails to take appropriate action, or gives substandard treatment. Unfortunately, often the patient is not advised of the cause of the injury and the medical community is generally reluctant to support a patient who was injured by another doctor or hospital.

It is important to understand that not every complication or bad result is due to medical malpractice. Some injuries can and do occur even when all standard procedures are followed and good care is given. Injuries not due to malpractice are known as accepted or recognized risks of treatment, procedures and surgeries. The important thing is to have your case evaluated early on by an experienced attorney who knows the difference.

Basic Requirements For A Medical Malpractice Claim

If you or a loved one have questions about a potential medical malpractice case, some of the issues that may arise include:

Time Limits: You may have heard that the time limit (statute of limitations) in New York is 2 ½ years from the date of malpractice. However, the reality is there are different and sometimes complex rules that apply based upon the specific the circumstances of each case. In some instances, notice must be given as early as weeks after the event. In all instances, a medical professional must determine the case has merit before a case is filed.

The age of the injured party, the length of time the care continued, when the injury was or should have been discovered, whether the malpractice resulted in death, and many other factors are needed to properly determine and protect the actual time limit. Once the time limit passes, all rights may be lost forever. It is important to have any potential case evaluated at the earliest possible time by an attorney experienced in this area of law.

A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed: In order to proceed with a medical malpractice claim, there needs to be a “duty of care” between the patient and the medical professional or facility.

The Medical Professional Was Negligent: Each particular situation must be evaluated to determine whether the medical professionals did not do something that should have been done, did something wrong, or did something that should not have been done. The standard of care is whether or not the professional deviated from the standard of care expected to be provided by the medical community.

The Negligence Caused Injury or Harm: In order for a medical malpractice claim to succeed, the injuries need to be related to the negligent care. While this may seem a simple issue; medical negligence cases are generally defended by claims that something else caused the injury such as the patient’s underlying conditions.

The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

There are certain types of medical malpractice cases that are more common than others:

Missed or Delayed Diagnosis: An incorrect or missed diagnosis can result in delay in life saving treatment and unnecessary or incorrect medical treatments.

A Missed diagnosis can occur when a medical professional fails to:

  • Recognize clinical signs and symptoms
  • Order correct medical testing or treatments
  • Properly interpret a test or x-ray
  • Report or follow up on test results
  • Refer the patient to a specialist

A delayed diagnosis can include:

  • Mislabeled or lost test results
  • Errors when conducting or evaluating medical data such as missing an abnormal blood result or an abnormal finding on x-ray

Failure to Treat: Failing to treat a patient violates the standards of care. In some instances, a doctor’s failure to treat can be caused by an overwhelming amount of patients or the physician filling to properly supervise staff.

Some examples of failure to treat include:

  • Releasing a patient too soon from a hospital
  • Failure to provide follow-up care, testing, and referral
  • Failure to order appropriate medical tests for the patient
  • Neglecting a patient’s medical history when prescribing medication

Prescription Drug Errors: Mistakes with pharmaceuticals can cause anything from an allergic reaction to death.

Some types of prescription drug errors include:

  • Prescribing or dispensing the wrong medication
  • Failure to recognize potentially dangerous interactions between drugs
  • Prescribing a drug to which a patient is allergic
  • Failure to recognize signs of addiction or abuse that can result in an overdose
  • Prescribing an incorrect dose of the correct medicine

Surgical or Procedural Errors: For any surgery or procedure, emergency or elective, there are standard procedures and protocols to reduce the risk of harm.

Some examples of surgical errors include:

  • Injuring a body part outside of the operative field
  • Performing surgery on the wrong part of the body
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Tools, gauze, or other medical devices left inside the patient
  • Patient reactions to anesthesia
  • Failure to follow standard medical practices such as monitoring before, during and after surgery

Childbirth Injuries or Losses: Injuries that occur before, during or after childbirth can have catastrophic results for both the baby and parent.

Common birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral Palsy/Brain Injury
  • Erb’s Palsy/Brachial Plexus Injury
  • Substandard prenatal care/failure to control Blood Pressure
  • Failure to recognize fetal distress
  • Failure to perform timely Cesarean Section
  • Failure to properly resuscitate the baby after birth

If you believe you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a medical professional’s negligence, don’t wait to call an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Cellino Law has decades of experience working with clients who have been injured by trusted medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics. Call Cellino Law today for a free and confidential case consultation at 888-888-8888.

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