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When it is Time to Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Although we often read news reports about negligence in state hospitals, terrible treatment conditions and general sub-standard care in such facilities, people don’t realise that medical practice can occur in private medical facilities as well. In short, just about anyone who is medically treated can become a victim of medical malpractice.

Not all doctor errors are reason for concern as acknowledged complications do occur. For a successful compensation claim and litigation or negotiation for such, certain requirements must be met. You must have suffered injury and damages because of the malpractice. The damages can be physical, emotional and financial. It is not possible to make vague claims. In most instances, doctors care about their patients and take every possible step to ensure correct diagnosis, proper treatment and ensuring that confidentiality isn’t breached.

In instances, however, where such errors or sub-standard care lead to injury, it is important to consider whether there has been a doctor-patient relationship. In other words, the medical practitioner must have had a duty to medically treat you. Also consider when the incident took place. There is only a short period in which you can submit the claim and it thus imperative to seek legal guidance from a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after the incident.

Another prerequisite is that the standard of care must have been below that which can be reasonably expected in the medical profession for the particular condition or circumstances. There must thus have been a breach in the medical standard of care. As a patient, for instance, you have the right to provide informed consent to a procedure unless you are unable to do so because of the condition, and a family member does it on your behalf.

The medical professional must explain the procedure, possible risks and available alternative options. If the practitioner fails to disclose a life threatening risk, which is directly associated with the procedure and you opt for the procedure, just to suffer the relevant risk afterwards then you have reasonable grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Determining, however, whether or not the practitioner has indeed failed to disclose risks reasonably may be more difficult and this is where the medical malpractice lawyer will call in experts and assess the particular evidence to determine the validity of the malpractice claim.

It is thus essential to understand that a less than desirable outcome of a treatment is not always enough reason for a medical negligence or malpractice claim. The lawyer will help to assess whether the injury or damage sustained have been recorded and justifies legal action. This is important since a medical malpractice lawsuit can be costly and can take years to conclude. In most instances, the lawyer will seek a settlement out of court to minimise costs for the client, but where needed, the litigation route is followed. The initial consultation and assessment, however, are important to minimise the risk of a long drawn out, costly exercise that is futile.

If you suspect that you have been victim to malpractice, take the first step. Call an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, such as Adele van der Walt, for professional legal advice and assessment assistance.