Doctors and medical professionals are experts in their field, and we rely on their knowledge, insight, and judgment to make and keep us well. And if a doctor's medical expertise seems beyond our general understanding, so too can medical malpractice lawsuits.
That means a lot people, even lawmakers, have misconceptions about medical practice and how medical malpractice lawsuits work. For example, legislators thought they could reduce lawsuits by allowing doctors to apologize for mistakes without their apologies being used against them in court. It didn't quite work out that way.
Here are some other misconceptions and myths about medical malpractice lawsuits, and where to go to find the truth.
Any Doctor's Mistake Can Mean a Lawsuit
Medical professionals are human, and, like the rest of us, can make mistakes. But not every medical mistake is the basis for a medical malpractice claim. And just because you didn't have the desired medical outcome, doesn't necessarily mean your doctor committed malpractice. Proving fault in a medical malpractice case requires showing that the medical professional responsible for your care departed from a generally accepted standard of medical care. And making your case could involve complicated medical documents and expert testimony.
You Need Physical Injuries to Win a Lawsuit
Sometimes a doctor can breach their ethical duty without causing physical harm and not all malpractice results in physical injuries. You can file medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors and medical professionals for lying, for withholding information, and, in some cases, for emotional distress. What constitutes medical malpractice can go beyond mistakes in treatment.
There's Only So Much Money You Can Win
State laws on medical malpractice claims can vary, and yes, some states have caps on the money damages a plaintiff can recover in a medical malpractice suit. But some courts have struck down statutory limits on damages, while other states are putting damages caps to a vote.
Medical malpractice claims can me complicated -- difficult to understand and to prove. That's why you need the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If you've suffered harm from medical treatment, contact a medical malpractice lawyer in your area right away.