If you suffer harm at the hands of a medical professional, you might assume that automatically means you can take them to court.
The truth is, you can only claim medical malpractice in some instances. Doctors and other medical professionals are not perfect. They do not know everything about every condition. The human body is also incredibly complex and, at times, unpredictable. So expecting doctors to get it right every time is unrealistic. If you could sue a doctor every time you did not get the result you wanted, people would quit the medical profession in droves.
You must show 4 things happened
A court will look for you to prove all four conditions were met. The doctor you bring the action against will work to deny they were.
- They harmed you: Wishing something had turned out better is not enough. You need to show actual physical, mental or financial harm.
- They had a duty of care toward you: You need to be sure you are taking action against the right person. Can you sue the hospital or a supervisor if one of their staff made a mistake? Sometimes, but not always.
- They deviated from normal procedures: You must show that the doctor did something unusual. If most other doctors in their position would have done the same, then a court will likely consider it is just bad luck that things did not turn out well.
- The damage directly results from their actions: If the doctor can show your harm might have been down to external factors beyond their control, you are unlikely to succeed. You need to show the direct link to their actions.
If you believe you have a case, seek legal help to find out more about the grounds and evidence a medical malpractice case will require.