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Medical Malpractice Overview

Malpractice is a specific legal term related to lawsuits alleging various different circumstances leading to damage to a patient. Malpractice suits may allege various mistakes made by doctors or other medical professionals, including misdiagnosis, mistreatment, or various types of negligence. Not all errors in medical diagnosis and treatment are necessarily malpractice, because there are certain risks and margins for error that arise inherently in the practice of medicine.

Diseases Associated With Medical Malpractice

The top five diseases that receive monetary awards for malpractice, in terms of dollar value, are breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer (including colon cancer and rectal cancer), heart attack, and appendicitis. Surprisingly, the main allegation is a form of misdiagnosis, either delayed diagnosis or mismanagement of diagnostic testing. Typically, this delay or oversight leads to severe complications and often death. The severity of misdiagnosis of these conditions and the poor outcomes that may result tend to explain why large monetary awards can occur. For more information, see the following articles:

Legal Hurdles for Medical Malpractice Awards

In order to successfully win a medical malpractice award, there are several obstacles to overcome. The first is that the case must be started before the statute of limitations has run out, and this length of time varies by state (and country) and also varies depending on the type of lawsuit or specific allegations.

The second hurdle is to prove malpractice, rather than a medical error or other adverse event that may not be considered negligence or malpractice. Many surgeries, procedures, and drugs have known risks and side effects. Even if you are injured by a medical intervension, it may still be considered to be within the normal or accepted "standard of care" for medical professionals, and thus not be malpractice. In short, some medical errors are considered "normal" for medical care.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a legal term related to when you can file a malpractice suit. It is a time limit that restricts when you can start a lawsuit. The length of the statute of limitations depends on the state (or country) in which you live, or in which you would initiate the lawsuit.

Disclaimer

Always consult with your attorney or other legal professional for any legal advice. The information provided on this web site is for general informational purposes, and does not constitute legal advice.

Reference Articles

Full List of Medical Malpractice Articles

The following articles discuss various aspects of medical malpractice, statistics about malpractice, and about certain legal issues in malpractice litigation.

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Personal Injury Articles

List of personal injury articles on related issues:

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