Nurses have some of the most demanding and important jobs on the planet. In most situations, a person who enters the hospital for treatment will receive more personal attention from nurses than doctors. While the medical field is sometimes uncertain and working in a busy hospital can be stressful, it’s important to recognize the distinction between a mistake and an incident of medical malpractice. When nurses make negligent errors that harm patients, the injured party can seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim.
In medical malpractice cases, “negligence” describes an individual’s failure to exercise appropriate care during a course of treatment by either performing an action that another reasonable, similarly skilled individual in the same situation would not, or failing to perform a necessary action that another reasonable, similarly skilled individual would have initiated in the same situation.
Expert witnesses are a necessity for any medical malpractice lawsuit. These individuals are usually professionals in the medical community who can provide a credible interpretation of events for a judge and jury. Expert witnesses will often testify as to whether a defendant’s actions were justified in a given situation, whether those actions upheld the acceptable standard of care in that situation, the extent a patient suffered due to a medical issue, and whether the patient’s injuries and damages were preventable.
Proving Nursing Negligence
In medical malpractice lawsuits, the burden of proof falls to the plaintiff. This means that the plaintiff must prove several facts in court and provide evidence to support his or her claims. Generally, proving nursing negligence involves four facets:
- An official medical relationship existed between the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant nurse had a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff must demonstrate a standard of care existed. This typically involves expert witness testimony to explain the standard of care for the situation.
- The plaintiff must then show the court how the defendant breached this duty or failed to meet the acceptable standard of care for the situation.
- Finally, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. It’s important to note that if a plaintiff suffered no loss or incurred no injury, he or she has no claim. To pursue a medical malpractice claim, actual harm must have occurred.
Winning Your Lawsuit
If you find yourself the victim of nursing malpractice, it’s crucial to secure as much evidence as possible to support your claims. If you’re medically fit to do so, speak with an attorney as soon as possible to start the process. Medical malpractice claims typically need to pass a medical review board before they can proceed to litigation. The appropriate medical licensing board will review a claim and determine whether the claimant has just cause to pursue a malpractice lawsuit. Once the review board approves a claim, the claimant can proceed with his or her lawsuit.
Medical malpractice cases are often complex, and it’s inadvisable to attempt to pursue a claim without professional legal representation. The right attorney can help injured patients secure compensation for their additional medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any lost income due to missed time from work.
The team at Bode & Collins is happy to represent clients in nursing malpractice cases across Arizona. Put our resources and expertise to use in your case. Start by giving us a call to schedule a case evaluation. We’ll review the details of your claim and let you know what to expect from pursuing a lawsuit.