People depend on doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals to treat people in times of illness or injury. When a patient goes in for medical help, they expect the best care possible. Unfortunately, negligence by a doctor can lead a patient to check out worse than when they went in. In more serious cases, a patient can suffer permanent damage from medical malpractice

Even after suffering harm due to medical malpractice, many patients hesitate to file claims against doctors – especially those they know and trust. It is tempting to “forgive and forget” when a medical provider makes a serious mistake. However, a victim of medical malpractice should not have to bear the burden of medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from a doctor’s mistake. 

If you suspect a doctor’s negligence caused your condition to worsen or caused any other injury or condition, talk to a medical malpractice lawyer about your legal options. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate your claim and the potential for recovery through a malpractice lawsuit. 

What Is Medical Malpractice? 

To prove negligence, the victim must show four legal elements: 

  1. Duty. That the doctor had a duty of care to the patient. A duty of care, in this sense, means doing what another doctor with similar training and experience should have done in the same situation. Following certain treatment protocols, ordering particular tests for a patient, or prescribing correct medication are examples of acts that fall within a duty of care. 
  2. Breach of duty. That the doctor failed to act as another reasonable practitioner in their situation would have done. Examples of breaches can include failing to order tests, leaving a medical instrument inside a patient during surgery, prescribing the wrong dose of medication, or failing to follow up on a critical medical issue. 
  3. Causation. There must be a causal connection between a doctor’s act (or failure to act) and the patient’s injury. If a patient’s condition worsens or they develop a new health concern, they will need to show that this stemmed from the doctor’s conduct.
  4. Damages. A medical malpractice plaintiff will need to show they suffered damages in the form of extra medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, or other costs – short-term and long-term – from the incident. 

Medical malpractice happens when a doctor or other medical provider acts with negligence, and their negligence leads to a patient’s injury.

What Happens When a Doctor Is Liable for Medical Malpractice? 

In some serious cases, a doctor can face criminal charges for bad conduct. In most cases, however, a negligent doctor will face civil liability in the form of a malpractice lawsuit. Only in extreme cases would they lose their license to practice medicine. Doctors can also face professional liability from their licensing agencies and other collateral consequences. 

Some common consequences include: 

  • Loss of patients. A malpractice case can seriously damage a doctor’s reputation, especially in communities where they are well known. This can lead to a loss of clientele and damage to a doctor’s career. 
  • Increase in insurance premiums. Doctors and other health professionals are typically required to carry malpractice insurance. If a claim is filed against a doctor, this will impact their premiums going forward. In turn, they might increase their fees to cover this added cost. 
  • Practicing “defensive medicine”. A lawsuit or the threat of a lawsuit can cause doctors to act with extra – sometimes unnecessary – caution. They might order additional tests for patients that are unneeded or avoid procedures that could be beneficial but carry some level of risk to the patient. 
  • Investigation by licensing and certifying agencies. Doctors must be licensed in the states in which they practice. If they encounter a malpractice claim, the state’s licensing and certification boards will investigate the malpractice claim independently. This can affect the doctor’s license and ability to practice in that state if the facts support the malpractice claim. 
  • Loss of clinical privileges. Many doctors practice at different locations within the same region and see patients in each setting. When a doctor loses a malpractice claim, these facilities might end a doctor’s privilege to see patients there. 

As you can see, a malpractice claim can have numerous professional consequences for a doctor found responsible for malpractice. These effects can go far beyond the civil lawsuit itself for the doctor involved. 

A Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help You Today 

If your health was affected by the negligent acts of a doctor or other health care professional, you might be entitled to financial recovery through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer to learn more about your legal options and to schedule a free consultation. 

Contact the Atlanta Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers for Help Today

If you or a close one have suffered from medical malpractice in Atlanta, GA, please call Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers at (770) 390-7550 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers
2 Ravinia Dr NE Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30346