Medical malpractice claims are essentially negligence claims. A person bringing such a claim has to prove that the medical professional's mistake in fact happened and caused some type of damage. In other words, negligence cases require that the claimant prove there was a duty owed, that the duty owed was breached, and that the breach of that duty was the proximate cause of the damages suffered by the claimant. If this is done to the court's satisfaction, then the case will be successful. Failure to diagnose, doctor error and surgical error are all viable medical malpractice claims.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania refused to hear a medical malpractice case wherein the jury award was the largest awarded in this type of case in state history. The man at the center of the case originally sued his doctor for medical malpractice because of a misdiagnosis. The doctor's diagnosed him with ALS when in fact he had a spinal disorder that could have possibly been corrected, if it had been discovered and operated on in time. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and this misdiagnosis has left the man with partial paralysis. Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, the jury award was for approximately $10 million.
Medical malpractice cases are not easy cases to win. The burden of proof is on the person bringing the claim against the medical professional, and the elements required can be difficult to prove. Also, this type of case is a complex type of case to handle because of the medical documentation that is needed to prove the malpractice claim.
Understanding the rules and regulations that go along with medical malpractice cases is imperative in knowing and protecting one's rights.
Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Pa. Supreme Court declines to hear appeal in Phila. med mal case that ended with $10 million plaintiff's verdict," Jon Campisi, Sept. 17, 2013