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The Basics of Medical Malpractice

In its most basic definition, medical malpractice is an act or omission by a health care provider that deviates from the accepted standards of practice in a medical community and which causes injury to the patient. It is a type of professional negligence; therefore it is open for a personal injury lawsuit.

To establish a claim of medical malpractice, the plaintiff must establish four points. First, the duty of the health care provider to offer care to the patient must be recognized. Next, medical duty must have been breached and a failure to provide the appropriate level of care must be proven. The breach must result in injury, for which the plaintiff is able to claim injuries.

Medical malpractice claims are helpful only in that they can identify areas where health care needs improvement. In an American Academy of Family Physicians study of 5,921 claims from 1985 – 2000 in the United States, 68% were in an outpatient setting. More than 1,200 deaths resulted from the errors made. No single condition accounted for more than 5% of all negligent claims, although diagnostic error accounted for about a third of the claims.

Unfortunately, medical malpractice cases are one reason why health care costs in the United States have skyrocketed recently. The cost of medical malpractice litigation in the United States has risen about 12% annually since 1975. In addition, according to Jury Verdict Research, awards in medical malpractice cases increased 43% in 1999 alone, with the average settlement growing from $700,000 to $1,000,000.

If you or someone you know has experienced medical malpractice, contact the Sheboygan medical malpractice lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at (920) 459-8000 to discuss your case and to schedule an initial consultation.