Law FAQ: What is medical malpractice?

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured as a result of medical treatment that falls below the acceptable standard of care within the medical community. Medical Negligence is another term for medical malpractice. Most medical malpractice claims result from one of the following:

  • Failure to properly diagnose an injury or condition in a timely manner.
  • Failure to provide proper treatment once a diagnosis is made.
  • Failure to obtain informed consent prior to a medical procedure.

Who can commit medical malpractice?

Medical negligence claims can be asserted against a doctor, hospital, nurse, clinic, chiropractor, dentist, pharmacist, nursing home, or other health care provider.

What must be proved in a medical negligence case?

To prevail in a medical malpractice suit, a patient must prove:

  • The recognized and accepted standard of care in the local medical community, or in a similar medical community.
  • That the healthcare provider failed to act in accordance with the applicable standard of care (referred to as a violation or “breach” of the standard of care).
  • That as a result of the breach of care, the patient suffered an injury or damage that would not have otherwise occurred.

The applicable standard of care, and the breach of that standard, must be proved by expert testimony from a qualified healthcare professional in the same field who has practiced in Tennessee or in a contiguous state within 1 year immediately preceding the injury. As one might imagine, it can be very difficult to find a competent and credible doctor who is willing to testify against another doctor. And securing such an expert can be very expensive. Consequently, substantial claims and injuries are often required to make a case economically feasible and worthwhile to pursue.

Our lawyers have access to a wide network of doctors and professionals willing to review cases to determine their merit, and we have experience handling substantial medical malpractice claims.  To learn more about our firm’s approach to medical malpractice cases, click on How We Handle Medical Malpractice Cases.

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