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When to Sue a Pediatrician for Malpractice

There are fewer malpractice claims against pediatricians than any other specialty, according to a recent study. But that same study concluded that a higher percentage of pediatric claims went to trial. Perhaps that's because, pediatricians are tasked with providing medical care for our children, and their mistakes, though few, can be especially tragic.

Here's what you need to know about pediatric care and the possibility of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Malpractice Elements

Doctors, like anyone else, can be held liable for injuries they cause. And while state laws may vary, most medical malpractice lawsuits are premised on four main elements:

  • Duty: Pediatricians owe their patients a duty of care, to diagnose and treat ailments to the same ability of other pediatricians.
  • Breach: They can breach that duty by failing to meet the standard of care, such as by misdiagnosing or mistreating their child patients.
  • Causation: A child patient can be injured as the result of a pediatrician's breach of duty, and in court they must prove these injuries were the fault of the pediatrician, and not something else, and that the pediatrician could or should have foreseen those injuries.
  • Damages: The child patient's injuries, like medical expenses, emotional distress, or other harm must be compensable by money damages in order to recover in court.

If all of these elements are found, you likely have a strong claim for pediatric malpractice, though proving each element of a case can be complicated.

Pediatrician Malpractice Claims

A pediatrician could be liable for medical malpractice for failing to diagnose an illness or medical issue, for misdiagnosing an ailment, or for prescribing the wrong treatment.

Pediatricians could also be held liable for the negligent prescription of a medication or medical devices if they ignored the manufacturer's instructions, or prescribe an incorrect medication or dosage.

To find out if you can sue a pediatrician for malpractice, you may want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

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