Medical Standard of Care

What Is the Medical Standard of Care?

On average, a doctor works 51 hours out of the week and sees at least 20 patients a day. With such a busy schedule, it’s not unlikely for a doctor to make a mistake during patient care.

If you were harmed from receiving medical care, you might consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. First, you need to know if your incident qualifies by understanding the standard of care.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is the Medical Standard of Care?

The “standard of care” is a legal term used by lawyers for a medical malpractice case. Different states define the medical standard of care in various ways.

In general, the standard of care means the degree of care and skill of an average healthcare provider. Lawyers take into account medical knowledge in the field of the healthcare provider.

How Is the Standard of Care Established?

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, a qualified expert medical witness will testify on what the appropriate standard of care is. This expert will also prove how the doctor’s deviation from the standard caused injuries.

Many states have laws that require the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case to retain an expert who has experience in the same or similar field as the defendant.

Some states also require a plaintiff to file a sworn statement or affidavit from the witness with the initial complaint that testifies in favor of the expert’s opinion.

If you hire a medical malpractice lawyer, they can help you find an expert witness and file the proper documents. Learn more about hiring a lawyer now.

Specialist Standard of Care

A health care provider that is considered a specialist in their field is typically held to a higher standard of care. This is because these professionals have gone through rigorous examinations and training.

Some common health care specialties include:

  • Radiology
  • Neurology
  • Internal medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Pediatrics
  • Anesthesiology

The standard of care in these fields requires a degree of care that a reasonably competent health care specialist would use under similar circumstances.

Mistakes vs. Malpractice

It’s important to note that a health care professional or facility might make a mistake that does not qualify as medical malpractice.

To be malpractice, the situation must fall below the accepted standard of care. The experience must also result in harm to the patient.

If the defendant failed to do or did something that fell short of the standard of care in their field, there is no malpractice. A health care professional might also provide sub-par care that causes no harm which also does not equate to malpractice.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you were harmed by a medical professional, understanding the standard of care can help you decide if you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Because these cases are complex and take time, it’s best to hire a lawyer who can navigate the process. If you aren’t sure if your situation qualifies as medical malpractice, speak to professionals in the field.

Take what you’ve learned from this guide to help you file a medical malpractice lawsuit that gets you the compensation you deserve. For more legal blogs like this, check out the other posts on our website.

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