What is Medical Malpractice Law? How to Find a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

 Medical Malpractice Law

What is Medical Malpractice Law?

Medical malpractice law is the field of law that concerns medical procedures. Medical care professionals, such as doctors, nurses, dentists, eye doctors, and physical therapists, are held to specific standards set by experts within the profession. Medical malpractice determines if health care professionals have followed their own standards.

Governing Law

Medical malpractice law is a sub-class of tort law, which covers a wide range of personal injuries in a variety of situations. Tort law is enacted by the legislature of each state. Therefore, each state’s laws are slightly different. However, most of the tort law tends to follow similar principles across the country. The specific application of that law depends on the jurisdiction. When dealing with health insurance agencies, those agencies have their own regulations for approving claims. With the rise of federal health care regulations, the laws are becoming more and more complicated. The Patient Protection Act and Affordable Healthcare Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare" is a 2,000 page law that covers health care, taxes, and a number of other semi-related topics. If the federal laws are part of a comprehensive plan to explicitly regulate a field, then federal laws preempt, or over rule, state laws. Therefore, a medical malpractice attorney must be aware of all federal legislation on a possible topic to make sure if federal law preempts state law. The controlling law is the jurisdiction in which the harm is committed. This means that if you are from Ohio but go to a hospital in Virginia and are injured, then the Virginia law will control.

Reasons for an Attorney

The sheer volume of laws regarding medical malpractice requires getting an attorney to shift through those laws in order to determine what is required to file a medical malpractice claim and whether you have one. Just because you are harmed does not mean you have a case as you may have waived your defenses. Additionally, there are very strict statutes of limitations that will prevent a claim from being filed if it is not filed within a certain time after the injury occurred. As soon as you suspect that an injury is not progressing normally, you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer to determine if you have a case. If you wait too long, you run the risk of waiting too long to file the claim, or not giving the lawyer enough time to figure out if you have a case and get the wheels turning. Most of these suits must be brought within two years of the injury.

The most serious medical malpractice claim is a wrongful death action. Other types of claims include negligence and battery. Negligence is when a person owes a duty to another, that duty is breached, and that breach caused measurable damages. But it’s important to remember the mere presence of death does not equal the doctor doing something wrong.

Things to Look for in a Medical Malpractice Attorney

A good medical malpractice attorney or law firm will have some experience or knowledge of tort law. The lawyer may have had experience at a personal injury firm. The lawyer may have had experience working with administrative agencies, since much of the applicable health care law is in the form of administrative regulations.

A good medical malpractice lawyer will communicate with you and the medical provider(s) responsible to get to the bottom of the dispute and determine the truth. Since time is of the essence in these cases, a law firm that communicates regularly is very important.

Most states do not have certifications for tort law, but some do have special certification and registration procedures to provide special standards for medical malpractice law firms.

Medical Malpractice Blogs

  • Determining the Validity of a Medical Malpractice Case

    Medical malpractice has become increasingly common, despite legislation passed to cap the most that plaintiffs can collect in their suits. The purpose of this legislation was intended to protect doctor’s from people who just wanted to get rich ...