Is Delayed Medical Treatment Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Man holding his head while holding a skull x-rayWhenever someone is ill or injured, their outcome is likely to be better if they get prompt medical treatment. Healthcare professionals have an obligation to assess patients, diagnose them, and treat them in a timely manner. However, sometimes medical facilities don’t attend to patients’ needs as they should. This is especially likely in hectic emergency rooms. In some cases, a delay in receiving medical treatment causes further harm to the patient. A seriously ill or injured person may even die before treatment is administered.

If you were harmed because of a healthcare provider’s failure to treat your condition, you have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This would allow you to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Hospitals, clinics, and medical professionals are required to carry medical malpractice insurance for situations just like this. However, you’ll need help from a Lakeland medical malpractice lawyer since it won’t be easy to get the insurance company to pay you full compensation. You’ll need to prove that a facility or individual was negligent and that this negligence led to your injuries.

Proving Negligence

Medical malpractice lawsuits are often complex. Even though each case is different, you will have to prove certain elements in order to go ahead with your lawsuit. First, you need to show that a doctor-patient relationship existed. Then, you need to show that the institution or the medical professional did not provide adequate treatment in a timely manner. Finally, you must prove that you were harmed because of this negligence.

It’s usually easy to prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship. There should be a record of you signing into at the hospital or doctor’s office even if you were not seen. Proving that the doctor was negligent or that you suffered unnecessary harm is likely to be more difficult.

To prove negligence, you need to show that the level of treatment you received was below what would be reasonably be offered by a competent doctor. This usually requires testimony from a medical expert. This person will explain what would have been appropriate under the circumstances and then show how your actual experience fell short.

After you establish negligence, you need to show that the delay in receiving treatment caused you harm. It’s not enough to prove that the doctor failed to treat your injury or illness in time. You have to prove that you suffered additional injuries. This means you have to show exactly how you were harmed and to what extent.

The delay may have:

  • Caused your condition to worsen
  • Removed the possibility that a specific type of treatment could be administered
  • Reduced the effectiveness of treatment
  • Prolonged your pain or discomfort unnecessarily

It’s likely that you’ll also have to get an expert witness to testify about this. Your attorney will seek out these experts on your behalf.

Why Medical Treatment May Be Delayed

There are several reasons why you may not be able to get prompt treatment. Emergency rooms are often overcrowded and if they are short-staffed, personnel may not be able to handle the number of patients. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re likely to have even more challenges. Doctors and nurses may not have the time to properly diagnose each patient and get them the appropriate treatment.

They may give you a cursory examination, listen to your symptoms, and assume you have the most obvious condition. It is well known that multiple illnesses can display the same symptoms but sometimes healthcare professionals don’t perform all the necessary tests. If they don’t diagnose the illness or injury correctly, they can’t treat it promptly.

Notably, failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis that results in harm is also grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Missteps involving diagnosis and treatment don’t always have adverse consequences but sometimes they do. When that happens, it’s extremely important to seek legal advice.

Contact Burnetti P.A. Today To Discuss Your Situation

If your condition worsened because you couldn’t get prompt medical treatment, you may be entitled to compensation. Our Lakeland medical malpractice attorneys have the skills and experience to help you. Medical professionals have a duty to give patients the best care possible and when they fail, they should be held accountable. You may be entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we can do for you.