Medical negligence can be a devastating experience for anyone, but it can be especially harmful when it happens to an older person. Medical professionals should always do their best not to cause further harm when someone needs hospitalization. Unfortunately, medical negligence is not uncommon in hospitals in the United States. What happens if an elderly family member suffers harm while hospitalized? How to sue a hospital for elder negligence?
What Is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide a patient with the proper standard of care, resulting in harm or injury. Elderly patients who require hospitalization are often more vulnerable to medical negligence due to their age, pre-existing conditions, and weakened immune systems. Mistakes can happen, but the medical provider can be held accountable for malpractice when an error occurs due to medical negligence.
Can You Sue a Hospital for Elder Negligence?
One of the more common questions we receive from prospective clients is, How do I sue a hospital for negligence? To successfully sue a hospital for negligence requires you to prove the hospital caused your injuries. However, an unfavorable outcome of medical treatment does not automatically mean the medical professional was negligent.
If an elderly patient experiences medical negligence while hospitalized, they or their loved ones may be able to sue the hospital for compensation. To do so, they must prove that the hospital was negligent in its duty of care and that this negligence directly caused harm to the patient.
When suing a hospital for negligence, you must demonstrate that:
- The medical provider owed a legal duty to the victim (i.e., doctor-patient relationship);
- The medical provider’s actions, or inactions, fell below the accepted standard of care; and
- The victim suffered serious injury and damages due to the medical provider’s actions.
You might wonder how to show the provider’s care fell below the accepted level. What would another medical professional with a similar background and training have done when faced with the same situation? If the outcome had been the same, it might not be medical negligence. However, if another medical professional indicates they would’ve handled things differently, there’s a strong argument for medical negligence.
Potential evidence in a medical malpractice case can include medical records, witness statements, expert medical testimony, and more.
Examples of Medical Negligence
Elder negligence in a hospital setting can take several different forms. Some of the most common are as follows:
- A wrong or missed diagnosis happens when a medical professional fails to assess a patient correctly or misses the diagnosis entirely, resulting in delayed treatment.
- A surgical error happens during a medical procedure, such as wrong-site surgery or leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient’s body.
- Medication errors happen when patients don’t receive the medication they need, are administered the wrong medication, or even the wrong dosage.
Once you establish medical negligence, the patient or their loved ones might be able to file a lawsuit against the hospital.
How to Sue a Hospital for Elder Negligence?
Medical malpractice laws vary by state. That’s one reason why hiring an experienced lawyer is crucial. Some states have strict procedures to follow before filing a lawsuit, and they may cap the damages. Your medical malpractice lawyer will explain the litigation process and let you know what damages you or your loved one might receive. Typical compensation includes reimbursement for medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Don’t hesitate to contact Senior Justice Law Firm to learn how we can help. Our lawyers have years of experience representing elder negligence and medical malpractice victims. We know what it takes to build a solid case against a hospital for negligence. Please schedule an initial consultation with our offices to learn more.
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