Suing a Doctor: The Basics of a Medical Malpractice Case

Did your doctor recently commit medical malpractice?

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. 

If your doctor has committed malpractice, you're entitled to
compensation. If you plan on suing a doctor, you need to know some basic
information. Check out all you need to know about medical malpractice.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is
a legal cause of action that occurs when a medical professional
deviates from the standard of care. A medical professional is liable for
injuries that occur when they neglect or don't provide the care that
their patient requires.

Malpractice can be difficult to prove so it's important to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. The medical malpractice
field of law exists to help individuals recover compensation from any
injuries that result from not being given the proper standard of care. 

What are the Different Types of Malpractice?

Not all medical malpractice suits are the same. There are several different types of malpractice. 

  • Surgical errors
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Prescription drug errors
  • Failure or refusal to treat
  • Birth-related errors
  • Neglect

Let's take an in-depth look at the different ways a doctor can commit medical malpractice.

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors can occur in a few different ways. The doctor may
perform surgery on the wrong site. They can ever perform surgery on the
incorrect patient. Surgical errors can also include carelessly leaving
sponges or other objects inside a patient during surgery.

Anesthesia errors also fall under surgical malpractice. A patient may
be given the wrong type of anesthesia. Some patients have certain
allergies that prevent them from receiving certain types of anesthesia.


A medical misdiagnosis happens when a doctor incorrectly diagnoses a
patient or not diagnosing them. This is a very common medical mistake.
Depending on the type of misdiagnosis, the consequences could be
life-threatening to the patient.

Prescription Drug Errors

Another common medical mistake involves prescription drugs. A doctor
can prescribe the wrong medication for a patient. A pharmacy may fill
the prescription incorrectly or give the wrong medication. 

Failure to note patient allergies or the possible side effects of
mixing a particular medicine with a patient's other medicines can be
catastrophic. This is one reason it's so important for medical
professionals to know a patient's full and complete medical history
prior to administering medications.

Failure or Refusal to Treat

If a doctor fails to properly treat or even refuses to treat a
patient, they could be sued for medical malpractice. There is a certain standard of care that a doctor needs to provide to their patients.

There are circumstances where a doctor can refuse to treat a patient.
For example, if a doctor or hospital has a religious objection to
abortion, they can refuse to perform the procedure.

State and federal laws differ when it comes to malpractice. However,
in some cases, refusal to treat can lead to medical malpractice. If you
were refused treatment and you have been told by a reputable medical
professional that you should have received treatment, you may have a
basis for a malpractice suit.

Failure to treat can occur when a doctor fails to properly treat a
patient after correctly diagnosing them. This can also include
discharging a patient too soon and improper follow-up care. All these
things can lead to injury or worsening of patient conditions.

Birth-Related Errors

Improper care during and after pregnancy can contribute to
birth-related errors. This includes medical negligence to the baby
and/or mother. Types of birth-related errors include:

  • bone fractures
  • surgical negligence during cesarean section
  • nerve damage
  • spinal injury
  • cerebral palsy from an unnecessary, delayed cesarean section

Pregnancies are complex. Some of these injuries can occur even
when everything is done to the best of the doctor's ability. However, if
it can be proven that any of these injuries were a result of doctor
negligence, then you may be able to file a medical malpractice suit.

It's important to note that a defense attorney may argue that the
birth injury is, in fact, a birth defect. The two terms may sound
similar, but they are very different.

A birth defect means that your child was genetically predisposed to
the injury or disability. A birth injury is something that occurs during
birth. It wouldn't normally occur in a typical, healthy baby.


Neglect is a common reason for medical malpractice suits. This
happens when medical professionals simply do not provide a patient with
proper care. Neglect often occurs in nursing homes.
Nursing home patients may develop bed sores or malnutrition. Neglect
also happens when a patient doesn't receive the proper medication.

Suing a Doctor

Now, you may be wondering how to sue a doctor. There are certain
basic requirements that must be met in order to follow through with a
medical malpractice suit. 

You must be able to prove that the doctor-patient relationship
actually existed. This is easily proved as such relationships are
documented within the medical facility.

You then must be able to prove that the doctor or medical
professional was indeed negligent. Did the doctor cause an injury that a
competent medical professional would not have caused? Was your injury a
direct result of the doctor's negligence?

You also have to be able to prove that the injury caused
specific damages. Did you experience loss of wages because you were
unable to work? Have you experienced mental distress? Have you endured
additional medical bills as a result of the injury?

Finally, you should be aware of your state's statute of limitations.
What is the specific deadline for filing a medical malpractice suit? If
you are ever uncertain about the statute of limitations or anything
else, contact a credible and qualified medical malpractice lawyer.

Get the Help You Need

When it comes to suing a doctor, you want to know your rights and
options. When proper medical malpractice suits against doctors are
filed, those injured may receive compensation to cover medical bills,
lost wages, and medical care.

Are you ready to find legal counsel who can represent you well during a medical malpractice suit? Contact us today to get a medical malpractice lawyer who will help you get the compensation you deserve.