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How to Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case

How to Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case

If you have suffered harm at the hands of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, you might have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice case. While medical malpractice laws exist to protect the public from unreasonably negligent or careless health care providers, it is important to note that not all cases of injuries or illnesses in medical settings constitute malpractice. Like other civil torts, there is a standard that must be met in medical malpractice cases.

Our St. Louis medical malpractice lawyers at Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth have decades of combined experience fighting on behalf of injured patients and families throughout Illinois. Over the years, we have spoken with many potential clients who were unsure as to whether they had a valid malpractice case. Because there are always risks in medical procedures, and because we cannot expect physicians to cure us of all ailments, the process of vetting the viability of a case can be difficult.

To help you gain a better understanding of how medical malpractice cases generally work, and whether you might be able to pursue compensation through a claim or civil lawsuit, consider the following:

  • Legal Duty – In order to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit, there must have been a doctor-patient relationship between you and the medical professional whom you allege caused or contributed to your injuries. You can’t sue a doctor after following advice you overhead them giving another patient, for example, because they were not treating you. When there is a doctor-patient relationship, medical professionals have legal obligations to which they must abide.
  • Negligence – The standard in medical malpractice cases requires that a medical professional was negligent. This occurs when they provide substandard care and fail to treat patients as a reasonably careful and skilled professional would under similar circumstances. Providing this element is the heart of a malpractice case, and it requires a great deal of work and collaboration with medical experts who can provide testimony on your behalf.
  • Causation – Patients receiving treatment or undergoing procedures are often injured or ill, so they must prove that the doctor’s negligence more likely than not caused a patient harm, rather than their underlying condition. This too requires close collaboration with medical experts and evidence that shows negligence as the cause of harm.
  • Damages – Victims must have suffered actual damages in order to file a medical malpractice claim and recover compensation. Damages can range from case to case and commonly include economic and non-economic losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among others.

Based on these standards, medical malpractice can take many forms. The most common types of cases include surgical errors, delayed diagnoses or failure to diagnose, anesthesia errors, birth injuries, failures to warn, violation of patient consent, and medication errors, among others. Our website’s medical malpractice section has more information about these cases and the elements involved in bringing legal action, but the best way to learn about your rights is to discuss the unique facts and circumstances of your situation.

During a free consultation, a lawyer from our firm can help you better understand your rights following preventable medical injuries, as well as what our legal team can do to fight for the compensation you deserve. Medical malpractice claims are notoriously difficult, but they can be handled effectively and successfully with the help of proven lawyers like those at Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth. Contact us to request your free consultation. We are available 24/7.


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