By: Terry Bennett
A medical malpractice case is nothing more or less than negligence by a professional who happens to be a medical care provider. That could include doctors, nurses, hospitals, dentists, etc. The attorney’s at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike want to make sure you understand what medical malpractice is in case you ever are confronted with the unfortunate circumstance.
All medical care providers have the duty to exercise a degree of care and skill that is expected of a reasonably competent practitioner. An individual bringing a malpractice case against a health care provider must prove a failure to observe the requisite duty. This always requires expert testimony and an expert must give their opinion prior to a lawsuit being filed.
The injured party must also prove that the failure to observe the requisite duty was the probable cause of the injury. A mere possibility is usually not enough proof.
Medical malpractice lawsuits must be brought within one year from the date that the negligence occurs or one year from when you realize you have a bad medical result. A medical malpractice case is very complicated, takes a long time to complete, and is very expensive. Simply because a patient had a bad result does not mean that the health care provider was negligent. There must be a proximate relationship between the individual’s injuries and some departure on the part of the doctor from the proper standard of care. Bad results can still occur when the doctor follows the proper standard of care.
Filing a medical malpractice case does not necessarily punish the doctor nor prevent the injury from occurring again to other people. The reality is that lawsuits do not clean up the medical profession, even assuming there is something generically wrong. Health care providers have malpractice insurance and therefore the hospital or individual physician will not be responsible for paying any money. The only way a doctor is “punished” is by an individual filing a complaint with the medical licensure board who regulates conduct of medical providers in each state.
Since doctors win over 80% of all the cases that go to trial, and considering that most jurors are reasonably satisfied with their own doctors, most plaintiffs have a hard time finding the doctor “guilty of malpractice.” That does not mean that you should not go to an attorney to have that attorney do a preliminary investigation to determine whether there may be negligence by the medical provider. Most attorneys do not charge for doing a preliminary investigation of your case to determine whether it has some merit to proceed further. Don’t hesitate to get help from an attorney if you need it.
Terry joined the practice in 1974. His areas of focus include personal injury law, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, business law, corporations, and adoptions. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, United States District Court Western District of Kentucky, United States Court of Military Appeals, and all Kentucky courts.
A Hardin County native and former Army office in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Terry graduated from William and Mary in Virginia with an undergraduate degree in government. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest Law School in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he graduated with honors.