Elements of a Viable Medical Malpractice Case
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Sep 22, 2017 in Medical Negligence
We rely on doctors and other medical professionals a great deal. There are some situations where we put our lives in their hands. If they do not properly diagnose or treat our medical conditions, it can have disastrous consequences.
If you think you received poor care from a medical professional, you may have grounds for a case. However, the fact that your treatment did not achieve the desired outcome does not necessarily mean you have grounds for a medical malpractice case.
Below, our Milwaukee medical malpractice lawyers explain the requirements for a viable case, including the statute of limitations and the specific things your attorney must establish to have a chance of recovering compensation.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
One of the first requirements of a Wisconsin medical malpractice lawsuit is that it must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for filing some type of legal action. If you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline passes, you lose the right to file a case.
Wisconsin's statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is three years from the date of the accident or one year from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered. However, you must file a claim within five years of the act or omission, regardless of when you discovered it.
In situations where a health care provider conceals an act or omission to prevent liability, you must file your lawsuit within one year of the date that you discover the concealment.
What Does My Attorney Need to Prove?
Your attorney must conduct an in-depth investigation to gather evidence so he or she can establish the four essential elements of medical malpractice:
1. There Was a Doctor-Patient Relationship
This is a relationship where you agree to receive treatment from a medical professional or he or she treats you even though there is no agreement. Generally, this relationship arises any time you see a doctor or other medical professional.
Even though it is called a doctor-patient relationship, this relationship can exist between a patient and a variety of medical professionals, such as:
- Nurse aides
- Physician assistants
- Medical technicians
2. The Doctor Violated the Standard of Care
The standard of care is similar to the duty of care that must be established in a personal injury case. However, the standard of care in a medical malpractice case is based on what a medical professional with similar qualifications and experience would have done if he or she was in a similar scenario.
This is one of the trickiest parts of any medical malpractice case and one of the main reasons it is so important to use the services of an attorney who has experience with medical malpractice, not just personal injury cases.
3. The Violation (or Negligence) Caused Your Injury
This means your attorney needs to establish a causal link between the doctor's actions and your injuries. In other words, you must show that your injuries would not have occurred without the doctor’s actions or lack of actions.
If you have a chronic condition, proving that the physician’s actions made your condition worse can be particularly challenging.
4. You Suffered Specific Damages
Damages often include things like medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and the necessity of long-term medical care or treatment.
Contact a Milwaukee Medical Malpractice Lawyer Right Away
It can often be difficult to determine whether your medical condition or your doctor caused your medical issues. This is why having an experienced lawyer on your side is extremely important when pursuing a medical malpractice case.
Our trusted attorneys have extensive knowledge of medical malpractice cases, including state laws governing these claims and how to conduct a thorough investigation to help build a strong case.
Our firm offers a free, no obligation legal consultation to determine if you have a case. If you have grounds for a case and decide to proceed, we will provide our services on contingency. This means there will be no fee unless you recover compensation.