Definition of Medical Malpractice Law
Medical Malpractice Law determines standards doctors must follow when caring for their patients. Like any professional, doctors must perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. Unlike other professionals, when doctors make mistakes or do not perform to standards, the outcomes can ruin their patient's lives. Some patients who were injured by their doctor choose to sue their doctors to pay for the extra medical costs and lost wages.
Medical Malpractice is a popular area of law, but it actually is considered a part of Accidents and Injuries law. Many accident and injuries cases, including medical malpractice cases, claim that one party was "negligent" in their practices. For medical malpractice cases, this means that the patient has to prove the doctors are generally have a duty to practice medicine a certain way, that the doctor did not fulfill (or "breached") his duty, and that the breach of duty caused the patient harm.
Terms to Know
Practice Area Notes
Medical Malpractice is largely an issue of state law. Each state's laws, including statutes of limitations, differ slightly. Patients considering filing suit against their doctors should be sure to consult a local medical malpractice attorney. You can find a medical malpractice attorney near you using the search tools below.
Many states, along with the federal government, have passed or are considering "tort reform" bills. Medical costs in the U.S. are well above other countries' medical costs, and some believe that medical malpractice suits are to blame. They argue that doctors must buy special malpractice insurance and order unnecessary tests for their patients because the doctors are afraid of lawsuits. The cost of the insurance and tests are then passed along to patients in the form of high healthcare bills. Tort reform bills attempt to make it harder for patients to bring lawsuits in instances where the doctor did not breach her duty of care. However, some tort reform laws have the effect of barring both frivolous and non-frivolous lawsuits. Your local medical malpractice attorney should be able to advise you on whether your state's tort reform laws will affect your case.