Can You Sue A Doctor For Negligence?


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If you or a loved one has been injured and you think it’s due to medical negligence, you may want to file a malpractice lawsuit, but have some questions about how to do it. What constitutes negligence and what you will have to prove are two of the most important aspects of a claim. You can sue a doctor, or other medical professionals, when their action or inaction caused you to suffer harm, and that harm resulted in damages.

What Are Common Types Of Medical Negligence?

There are various ways that medical negligence can cause catastrophic injuries, or even death. It can be by a wrong action, a lack of proper action, or a mistake that shouldn’t have happened. It can happen in various settings, including a doctor’s office, during surgery, or during an outpatient procedure.

Some of the most common types of medical negligence or malpractice include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis – Misdiagnosing or completely missing a condition or illness is the most common medical error.  It can result in the wrong treatment for a patient or a delay in the right treatment being performed.
  • Delayed treatment – This can happen due to misdiagnosis, but more commonly, it occurs in busy environments, like the emergency room. In busy situations, a patient may have to wait for an extended period to see a doctor. During that wait, their injury or illness can escalate, when timely treatment could have prevented further injury from happening.
  • Medication errors – These mistakes are also disturbingly common. They occur in various ways, including being prescribed the wrong medication, improper dosing, or missing or forgetting medication in a hospital setting.
  • Infection – Patients can contract infections due to negligence when nurses, doctors, or other medical staff don’t wash their hands properly between patients.
  • Treating the wrong patient – This type of negligence can affect both patients involved, the one who should be getting the treatment, but doesn’t, and the one who receives the other patient’s treatment. Treating the wrong patient often happens because patient identification isn’t verified.
  • Treating the wrong site – This type of mistake can have catastrophic consequences. It can happen during surgery when the patient’s chart isn’t read correctly, and the surgery is performed on the wrong site.
  • Medical instrument left inside the body – This may seem incredible, but it does happen. There have been surgical tools, scissors, sponges, and other things left inside a patient’s body during surgery.

What Is Needed To Prove Medical Negligence?

Proving that medical negligence occurred can be complicated, which is why it is important to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your claim. They know what to look for and how to prove negligence occurred. Essentially, there are four parts to proving a medical malpractice case:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed. You must show that you hired the doctor and that the doctor agreed to be hired.
  • The doctor violated the accepted standard of care. The accepted standard of care is what another competent doctor would have done under the same circumstances. If your doctor acts (or fails to act) in a way that violates that standard, then it may be considered negligence.
  • The negligence resulted in your injuries. You must prove that it was the doctor’s negligence that caused your injuries. For example, a patient who is suffering from cancer and dies after treatment that was performed negligently may be a difficult case to prove. It has to be proven that it was the doctor’s mistake and not the cancer that caused the patient’s death.
  • Your injuries led to specific damages. Damages in a medical malpractice case include the physical pain you suffered, mental anguish, medical bills, and expenses, and lost work and earning capacity related to your injury.

Should You Sue Your Doctor For Medical Negligence?

If you believe that you or a loved one was injured due to medical negligence, you have the right to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible parties. However, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be very complicated and lengthy. You will likely need a medical expert to provide testimony about your case, and you may need various types of investigations performed.

That’s why medical malpractice victims are best represented by knowledgeable, experienced attorneys who are familiar with malpractice laws and regulations – like those at Ross Feller Casey.

At Ross Feller Casey, we are prepared to represent you in your medical malpractice lawsuit, as we have done successfully for many clients with cases like yours. We have Ivy League educated doctors on staff who can review medical records. We have a proven track record of winning record-setting cases and providing our clients with large, multimillion-dollar financial recoveries.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice, please contact our offices to schedule your free case review. We handle all malpractice cases on a contingency basis, so you are not charged until a financial recovery is made on your case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.