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When Liability Isn’t So Clear in a Medical Malpractice Claim

The Becker Law Firm, LPA

Some cases involving medical malpractice are pretty cut and dry such as if the healthcare provider responsible and the action or omission which led to the injuries is obvious. But this isn’t always the case.

When may liability be difficult to determine?

Lines can become blurred when determining fault for a medical mistake. An example would be a patient receiving the wrong medication. Was it a mistake on behalf of the pharmacy or the nurse who injected it?

In some cases it might be more than one party who is responsible. For instance, the pharmacy might have given the wrong drug, but the nurse could have neglected to verify that the correct medication was being administered.

Additionally, liability can sometimes extend beyond an individual medical professional who committed an error. A surgeon could be responsible for a mistake made during an operation, but the hospital could possibly be named in a claim as well.

How is medical malpractice liability established in a claim?

There are essentially four important factors that will help in establishing liability. The first is that a duty of care was owed to the patient. There must be a relationship between the medical professional and the person who was injured. The second is that the duty of care owed was breached. In other words, inadequate care or treatment was given.

The third factor is that the breach was the direct cause of the injury. This is important since sometimes the patient’s initial medical condition could be blamed. Lastly, the patient must have suffered damages, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and even emotional damages.

Keep in mind that when it comes to medical malpractice claims, there is a statute of limitations that could impact recovery. So it’s important to move quickly in determining liability to ensure a claim is filed within the appropriate time period.

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