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Was it medical malpractice or an honest mistake?

If you or someone you love sought treatment at a hospital or clinic only to become far more ill, you might wonder whether you can file a medical malpractice claim.

Many people do not realize that not all medical mistakes or complications amount to medical malpractice under the law. How can you tell if you are dealing with medical malpractice or an honest mistake?

Let's start by explaining what constitutes medical malpractice by legal standards.

The key factors of medical malpractice are:

  • Negligence on the part of a health care provider or professional
  • Harm, injury or death to a patient

Negligence is the keyword here. Not all mistakes constitute negligence. Doctors, surgeons and nurses are humans, and we all know human beings can make honest mistakes. A doctor, hospital or medical provider is only negligent when they provide care that falls short of generally accepted standards. The "standard of care" is what a reasonable medical provider would have done under similar circumstances.

The question is not simply: What should your provider have done? The question is: Would another provider have known the right thing to do?

Think about your case. Do you think that you would have been likely to receive a different type of care, and a better outcome, from another doctor or hospital? You may not know the answer to that question, and that is okay.

If you live in the Chicago area and think you might have a medical malpractice claim, tell us your story and we will answer your questions free of charge. Our Chicago law firm offers free case reviews.

How Can You Prove Medical Malpractice?

In order to prove that your case amounts to medical negligence and not simply human error, you have to show that the health care provider failed to treat you within the accepted standards of care.

Successful medical malpractice attorneys typically accomplish this by comparing your situation to clinical guidelines. They may investigate records and ask other health care providers and doctors to serve as witnesses to prove what similar providers would have done in the same circumstances.

You must also prove that the medical negligence caused an injury or the worsening of a condition. This generally means the injuries and damages need to be both substantial and documented.

If you suspect that someone you care about is a victim of negligent medical care, contact a seasoned medical malpractice attorney. A lawyer can review your situation free of charge to determine whether you have a case. Statutes of limitations may apply, so it is important to consult with an attorney soon.

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