Medical professionals owe their patients a certain level of care, known as the “standard of care.” When they fail to provide this level of care, they can cause their patients to suffer from serious and sometimes life-altering injuries. When this happens, that health care professional may be held liable for the injuries they caused.
But what is the medical standard of care for health professionals in Michigan? Does the standard of care expand to health professionals in specialized fields? What should you do if your doctor fails to uphold their standard of care to you? In this article, we’ll explore the medical standard of care and how it applies to medical malpractice claims, as well as what to do if you are a victim of negligence in a health care setting.
If you or a loved one has suffered from injuries due to a negligent health care provider, the Michigan medical malpractice attorneys are here to help. Our attorneys are proud to represent the residents of Michigan with expert legal counsel, and with over 30 years of experience in medical malpractice, you can rest easy knowing your case is in capable hands. Call us at (248) 557-1688 to schedule a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice experts today.
Definition of Medical Standard of Care
The medical standard of care is a legal term that describes the baseline level of care a medical professional is expected to provide their patients with. Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals are generally expected to act a certain way in certain situations, and the standard of care lays out exactly what a reasonable person would do in those situations.
Examples of the Medical Standard of Care
If someone has surgery on their right wrist, a competent physician would operate on the correct wrist. If the doctor misreads the patient’s chart and operates on the patient’s left wrist, that would most likely be considered outside the medical standard of care. Since the doctor failed to act per the standard of care, they may be liable in a physician malpractice case.
What Is the Standard of Care in Personal Injury Claims?
In personal injury claims, the standard of care is the baseline expectation for people in certain situations. It asks, “Would a reasonable person in the same or similar community act the same way as the defendant did in this situation?” If the answer is no, then the defendant most likely acted in a negligent way and may be liable for any injuries their negligence caused.
What Is the Standard of Medical Care in Medical Malpractice Cases?
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the court has to determine whether or not the health care professional accused of negligence was actually negligent. They can do this by establishing a standard of care based on:
- The health care professionals’ medical knowledge
- The health care professional’s skills compared to others in their field
- How the average health care professional would have acted under the same circumstances
- What the customary practices are for medical professionals in their field
By establishing a standard of care, the court can decide what the average doctor, nurse, or other medical professional would have done in that instance. They’ll also be able to establish expectations for what a person in the health care professional’s position would be capable of.
If the average provider would have acted differently or would have been able to provide their patient with a higher standard of care than the defendant, then the defendant may be found negligent. If they are considered negligent, they may owe their patient financial compensation for the injuries they caused.
How Are Specialists Affected by the Standard of Medical Care?
The medical standard of care extends to all health care professionals, regardless of specialty. In these cases, however, the court has to establish what a reasonably competent specialist in the same field of medicine would have done in the defendant’s situation. This applies to specialists like obstetricians, chiropractors, plastic surgeons, pharmacists, emergency room personnel, and others.
How Do We Establish the Medical Standard of Care?
When establishing an applicable medical standard of care, there are a lot of factors to consider. These can include national standards of care and rules on how certain procedures and situations should be handled. A medical standard of care can also be established by expert testimonies. These involve a different medical professional testifying about what would be expected of them in a given situation.
What Should I Do If a Provider Breaches the Standard of Medical Care?
Suppose you have received substandard care from a health care professional, which resulted in injuries. You may be able to receive compensation for your damages in a medical malpractice case. Are you looking for a medical malpractice law firm that can handle your case? Lipton Law has got you covered. Call us at (248) 557-1688 and schedule an appointment with one of our medical negligence attorneys to discuss your case.
How to Prove a Breach of the Medical Standard of Care
In medical malpractice cases, we establish a standard of care through expert testimonies. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will call an expert witness to testify in court. This will usually be a health care professional who works in the same field as the defendant. They should also have similar skills to the defendant.
This expert testimony will establish what another person in the defendant’s field would have done in the same or similar circumstances. From there, the jury can decide whether or not they believe that the alleged malpractice was, in fact, malpractice. If the jury decides that the defendant was negligent and did commit malpractice, then the medical malpractice plaintiff may be awarded financial compensation.
What Compensation Can I Get If a Provider Breaches the Standard of Care?
In medical malpractice cases, victims can receive compensation for damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Funeral expenses, if the injuries result in wrongful death
Contact a Southfield Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Your Medical Malpractice Claim
Doctors have a large capacity for good. They can even save the lives of their patients, but they also have a great capacity for harm. When a health care professional fails to provide their patients with basic, reasonable care, they can cause serious injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent health care professional, the medical malpractice lawyers at Lipton Law are here for you. We can help you file a compensation claim and can even prepare expert testimonies in the event of a trial. Call (248) 557-1688 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation regarding your potential medical malpractice case.