What makes an injury that I sustained a Washington, D.C. medical malpractice case?
A Virginia, Washington, D.C., or Maryland medical malpractice case has some very specific requirements that make it different from a regular personal injury lawsuit. In a typical personal injury lawsuit, the only thing that you have to prove is that another person’s negligence caused your injury. In straightforward cases like car accidents or slip and falls, the case is as simple as identifying the person, their negligence, and the damage that the negligence caused.
A medical malpractice case involves four very specific requirements to be fulfilled in order to be pursued successfully. You must be able to prove that:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship. If you were harmed by following the advice of a doctor you saw on television, at a conference, or just casually in passing, it is not a sufficient relationship on which to base a claim. In order to have a doctor-patient relationship, you must have officially hired a doctor and the doctor must have agreed to treat you. By making an appointment at his or her practice or medical facility, you have established this relationship.
- The doctor in question acted negligently. Doctors are expected to practice medicine in a manner that exercises a reasonable level of care and skill, and in any medical malpractice case, an expert witness—usually another medical expert—will be called upon to decide whether or not your doctor acted negligently. This does not mean that if the treatment you received did not work, you can file a claim—unless, of course, a competent doctor’s actions would not have resulted in injury.
- The injury you suffered was the result of your doctor’s negligence. Medicine is a tough field. Gravely ill people seek out medical care, but the care that they receive may not work. This does not always mean that the doctor was negligent, however. In order to prove your case, you must prove that it was the doctor’s negligence and incompetence that caused your injury.
- The injury that you suffered caused a specific damage. If the injury that you are suing for did not lead to a specific type of damage, such as physical pain or lost wages, you may not have a case.