Medical errors do happen – and surprisingly more often than patients might realize. In most cases, patients are informed about the medical mistakes made during their care, but other times they are not. Instead, a patient will figure out a mistake occurred later – after enduring multiple tests, treatments and costs. Whether you were told about the mistake or not, a medical mistake derived from negligence could lead to a malpractice lawsuit against that physician. But, it is important to know the difference between the regular medical process and actual negligence.
Not All Errors Are Preventable
The key difference between a medical error and negligence is that not all errors are preventable. There are some medical errors that can occur even when your physician exercises immaculate competency and even takes every precaution. If, however, the error occurred due to their incompetency or negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Understand Your Injuries
Identifying a medical mistake may seem like common sense, but there are some errors that are not as clear. The most common errors seen in malpractice cases include:
- Innocent Mistake, but No Injury to Patient – Not all medical errors will result in injury. For example, the incorrect dosage of a medication may be prescribed. You take the medication and have a minor reaction, which you report to the physician. If the error was caught before you suffered serious or lasting injuries, it is a mistake on the doctor’s fault, but not malpractice. Lack of harm does not erase the fact that your physician made a mistake, but it is not considered malpractice because no physical or emotional injury occurred.
- Doctor Mistake, but Injury is Minor – Some situations can result in minor injuries – such as a misdiagnosis of an ankle sprain. If the physician quickly corrects the misdiagnosis and the injury is minor, you could still have a case for malpractice, but only if there are damages. If you suffered minor injuries because of the misdiagnosis and had to pay for two separate treatments, you may have a malpractice claim. If, however, the injury was the same injury you’ve already sustained and there were no costs, you may not have a claim.
- Doctor Mistake Leads to Serious Injury – Unfortunately, there are instances where a doctor’s mistake could lead to serious injury or even death. For example, a physician fails to diagnose cancer. Because of the delayed treatment, you are no longer eligible for surgery and your life expectancy has been shortened. In this case, the doctor could be found negligent.
Seeking Legal Recourse
When medical mistakes occur, no matter how minor, they should be reviewed by a malpractice attorney. An attorney at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC can assess your particular case and help determine if you have a valid claim. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call (203) 487-5716 or contact us online to get started.