How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Protects the Rights of Injured Patients
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Medical malpractice lawyers work to protect and defend the rights of patients who have been injured in a case of medical negligence.
As a patient, you may not even be aware that you possess various rights when it comes to your treatment at a medical facility or by healthcare workers. Some of these rights are guaranteed to you by federal law, your state sets some, and others include the patient Bill of Rights that is followed at the healthcare facility where you were treated.
Experiencing medical malpractice and negligence is traumatic, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Your local medical malpractice lawyers can help you defend your rights as a patient in Michigan and provide the expertise and support you need in handling a medical malpractice claim.
The following guide details how lawyers specializing in medical malpractice work to defend patient’s rights and the basic requirements needed for a medical malpractice claim. It also outlines the many benefits of working with a medical attorney to defend your personal injury negligence claim.
What Medical Malpractice Means
According to the American Bar Association, medical malpractice is the result of negligent actions that are committed by any healthcare provider during your treatment.
This can include doctors, nurses, dentists, technicians, hospital workers, healthcare institutions themselves, health insurance providers, pharmacists, and hospice workers. In short, it’s any medical professional whose performance of care during your treatment deviated from the standard skill and knowledge set of “those with similar training, and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.”
In other words, medical malpractice suits come about when a healthcare worker administers treatment in a manner that does not fall within the standards of good medical practice set and followed by their peers in the medical industry. Medical malpractice lawsuits can also include misdiagnosis or any wrongful death that could have otherwise been avoided.
For example, if a patient undergoes a heart surgery that leads to further complications and injuries, those injuries may be the result of negligent action or medical errors on behalf of the surgeon during the procedure. To determine if surgical errors is the case, a judge or jury will look at testimonies that are given by other medical experts to determine what a competent heart surgeon would have done in a similar circumstance.
…And What it Does Not Mean
Medical malpractice does not refer to dissatisfaction with the results of surgery. For example, if a plastic surgery patient is dissatisfied with the results of their facelift, it does not constitute medical malpractice. In this case, you would have to show an actual injury that you incurred because your surgeon deviated from the standard of care you would have received from a comparable doctor for the same condition
However, in this instance, if errors that occurred during your surgery – such as being administered the incorrect amount of anesthesia or a procedure that was performed incorrectly – lead to damages, such as infection and disfigurement, you may have a claim.
The line between valid claims of medical malpractice and unfortunate coincidence can be vague and difficult to navigate without a background in the medical field.
Luckily, it’s not something you need to determine on your own: top medical malpractice attorneys in Michigan can work with you to look over your claim and determine whether you are a victim of medical malpractice whose patient rights have been violated.
Federal Patient’s Rights
In the United States, medical malpractice law is based on concepts of medical responsibility.
Right to medical records
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 includes the Privacy Rule, which guarantees patients the right to inspect, review, and receive a copy of the medical records that are held by their healthcare provider.
By law, these records cannot be denied to you in cases in which you are unable to pay for the services you received. If your doctor fails to provide requested documents in a timely or complete manner, you may have a valid claim to medical malpractice.
Right to privacy
Also laid out in the Privacy Rule, patient’s rights to privacy stipulate who can access medical records and when and work to protect your private information.
According to the Privacy Rule, only you or your representative (in the case of minors, a parent, for example) has the right to access these records. In addition, your doctor or healthcare provider can only forward your records to other providers with your written consent.
The Michigan Patient’s Bill of Rights
Michigan malpractice law is particularly complex as outlined by the Michigan Patient’s Bill of Rights According to the bill, all patients that are Michigan residents are entitled to various pieces of information in writing from their health insurance provider, including:
- A comprehensive cost-of-service estimate prior to treatment
- What is covered by your medical insurance
- Procedures concerning out-of-state-treatment
Michigan residents are guaranteed coverage in cases of emergency medical treatment. However, Michigan residents are also subject to a particularly complicated set of statute of limitations laws. For example, Michigan law requires that the victim files their complaint within two years of the services rendered. However, this is then further limited to a mere six months after the injury or negligent act was discovered by the victim.
A statute of limitations can also be extended if the victim in question is a minor, a veteran of the U.S. military, or mentally disabled.
Your personal injury attorney in Michigan can help you understand the limitations and expectations set forth by the Michigan State Health Department in claiming your medical malpractice lawsuit.
Patient Bill of Rights by Facility
In addition to federal and state rights, various healthcare facilities and hospitals enforce their own set of patient’s rights and codes of ethical medical practice.
While many of the bills that are practiced at medical facilities will undoubtedly adhere to state and federal laws, they typically function more like non-binding declarations than laws.
That is to say; they include rules or codes of conduct that are taken on by the staff of a hospital as a means of guaranteeing a certain standard of care to their patients rather than promising rights before the law.
For example, a hospital’s Bill of Patient’s Rights may include ambiguous statements, such as a healthcare provider’s commitment to helping a patient “maintain confidence in the U.S. healthcare system.” When scrutinized more closely, it is easy to see that such claims equate to simple formalities, as losing your faith in the healthcare system does not necessarily equate to an actionable offense.
Any claim you make is subject to arbitration, mediation, and litigation. It is your medical attorney’s job to collect the reelvant facts and administer the applicable law to help you prove the harm you incurred was the direct result of your doctor’s negligence.
If you or a loved one are a victim of medical malpractice please call Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. law firm to schedule your complimentary and no obligation free consultation at 1-866-MICH-LAW. No fee is charged unless a recovery is made.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.