Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Medical Malpractice Liability

Many people have encountered healthcare horror stories. Someone who had surgery discovered that a surgical tool was mistakenly left inside them, while others have been diagnosed with an illness they didn't actually have. If you have had a similar experience, you might have a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, nurse, hospital, or care facility.

An act of medical malpractice can occur from inadequate medical care or medical errors. The following scenarios may qualify as medical negligence:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Improper treatment of a patient that causes a personal injury
  • Errors of omission, such as failing to follow proper procedure
  • Treating a patient without the patient's consent
  • Wrongful death

FindLaw's Medical Malpractice Liability section offers information on:

  • The first steps to take when pursuing a medical malpractice case
  • State medical malpractice laws
  • Proving fault in a medical malpractice case
  • Possible defenses to a medical malpractice claim

If your personal injury resulted from a medical procedure or a doctor's visit, you are in the right place. Learn the basics of medical malpractice and where to find an attorney near you who can help.

How To Begin a Medical Malpractice Case

Even though healthcare providers try to exercise the highest standard of care, mistakes sometimes happen that cause injury. If this happens to you, you may want to consider bringing a malpractice claim against the provider.

If a doctor causes injured patients harm, the patients may have a valid claim for medical bills and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In rare occasions, if a doctor's mistake is extremely outrageous, you may be able to recover punitive damages.

It can be overwhelming to deal with poor medical treatment from a healthcare provider. Here are some basic steps you can follow to pursue a medical malpractice claim:

  • Find out the time limit, known as the statute of limitations, to file a medical malpractice claim
  • Before filing a claim, contact the medical professional to understand what might have gone wrong and allow the doctor to determine if your issue can be fixed
  • If contacting the medical professional doesn't help your situation, you can contact the relevant licensing board, which can issue a warning or discipline to the medical professional
  • Find out if you need to get a certificate of merit to determine that the injuries or harm you suffered were the result of negligence by the health care professional

Medical malpractice cases can be stressful and complex, so contacting a medical malpractice attorney can be very helpful.

A medical malpractice lawyer can help you figure out if you have a strong case and help you with the necessary steps toward recovery. You might feel hesitant to file a claim against a doctor you otherwise like, but doctors have liability insurance for this exact situation. An attorney can also help you determine if it is better to accept a settlement, go to court, or enter into arbitration, which is an out-of-court way to resolve a dispute. Whether or not to accept a settlement is solely your decision.

Defenses to Medical Malpractice Cases

If you decide to file a medical malpractice claim, it is important to know some of the defenses that the medical professional may use.

Medical malpractice is a type of negligence. This means that any defense available to a general negligence claim is also available in a malpractice claim.

The most common way to defend against a medical malpractice claim is to argue that the patient cannot establish the required elements of negligence. These elements are duty, breach, causation, and damages. For example, a doctor can argue that they did not breach their duty of care because their treatment was in line with the standards in the medical community.

Another defense that a medical professional can assert is contributory negligence. The doctor may argue that the injury or harm would not have occurred if the patient had not acted negligently. If a doctor can prove that, then they may have a valid defense to a medical malpractice claim. Examples of a patient's negligent acts are if the patient goes against the doctor's orders or fails to disclose key elements of their medical history.

To figure out how strong your cause of action is, hire an experienced attorney. Knowing these defenses and discussing your case with an attorney will help determine the strength of your medical malpractice case.

Learn About Medical Malpractice Cases

  • Medical Malpractice In-Depth: This article gives a comprehensive look at medical malpractice law and how medical malpractice lawsuits work. This section includes information about legislation, the elements of negligence, patient safety, and other factors affecting medical malpractice laws and procedures.
  • Medical Malpractice: Who Can Be Sued?: Learn about hospital negligence, vicarious liability, pharmaceutical manufacturer liability, hospital insurance companies, and other possible defendants in a medical malpractice case.
  • Medical Malpractice State Laws: State laws govern most facets of medical malpractice suits, including the statute of limitations, minimum qualifications for expert witnesses, and attorney fees. This section is a roundup of various state laws and regulations affecting medical malpractice claims.
  • Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases: Several different parties may be held liable for medical malpractice for a variety of reasons. In this section, you will find various ways plaintiffs and their attorneys may prove fault in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
  • First Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case: After being injured due to poor medical treatment, you may want to file a medical malpractice suit. In this section, you will learn how to begin a claim for medical malpractice, from contacting the physician to settling the suit.
  • Defenses to Medical Malpractice:In some circumstances, the defendant may have a valid defense to a medical malpractice claim. This section describes how a patient's failure to follow a doctor's orders may negatively impact a malpractice claim.

Medical Malpractice Liability Articles

You Do Not Have To Solve This on Your Own — Get a Lawyer's Help

If you decide to sue a medical professional, an attorney can help you understand your legal options.

If you think you have a medical malpractice action, contact a medical malpractice attorney near you.

Learn About Medical Malpractice Liability

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Was this helpful?

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options