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A Viable Malpractice ClaimWhat Are The Basic Components That Make Up A Strong, Viable Medical Malpractice Claim Under Tennessee Medical Malpractice Law?

The elements of a medical malpractice claim, which is called a “Health Care Liability Action” in Tennessee, are duty, breach, causation, and damages. In other words, you must be able to show that a physician or health care provider had a duty to act in a certain manner (called the “standard of care”), failed to do so, and caused you harm as a result of that failure. In order to prevail, you must prove each element is more likely than not true and must do so with expert testimony. Under Tennessee law, a plaintiff must consult with a qualified expert who certifies the claim is not frivolous even before filing suit.

What Might Be Some Examples Of Things That Would Not Necessarily Qualify As A Medical Malpractice Case?

Just because you experience a complication does not mean you have a valid claim for medical malpractice. All surgeries and procedures carry the risk of complications. These complications are almost always well-known and well-described in the medical literature. The patient will almost always be advised about these risks before signing a consent to the surgery or procedure. However, even though the patient has acknowledged the risk and consented to the surgery, that does not mean there is no claim if the patient experiences the complication. The question is always whether the physician deviated from the standard of care and caused the complication by doing so. The fact that the complication is known, means the physician should have taken measures to prevent its occurrence.

How Seriously Does The Injury Have To Be? Is That A Basis Of Whether Or Not A Claim Will Be Viable? Does It Have To Be A Disastrous Injury?

The elements of a medical malpractice/healthcare liability claim are the same regardless of the extent of the injury. However, these claims are incredibly expensive and time consuming. Additionally, for cases that go to trial, the health care provider wins around 80% of the time. Therefore, for claims related to less severe injury, the negligence must be greater to justify the risks associated with litigating the case.

The more severe the injury, the greater the potential verdict. Thus, there is more pressure on the defendants to resolve a case before facing a jury when a claim is related to a catastrophic injury. However, no matter how big or small injury or how clear the negligence might be, these cases are rarely ever resolved quickly. They will typically either go to trial or settle on the eve of trial. It takes 2-5 years to get these cases ready for trial in addition to $100,000 to $500,000 in expenses.

Do You See Some Patients Hesitate, Even If They Have A Good Case Because It’s A Doctor Or A Surgeon They’ve Known Forever Or Is Known In The Community?

Typically, by the time our office is contacted, the injured party has moved past any social concerns related to suing a health care provider. However, it is very common to hear from our clients that he or she is not the “type of person who sues.” Special interests’ groups in the areas of health care and business have succeeded in creating the believe among of the general public that our court rooms are full of “suing types” and “runaway juries.” Lawyer advertising on television, especially from “Wal-Mart” law firms, has helped solidify this belief. So, at the outset of trial during jury selection, an injured plaintiff is facing potential jurors who believe the plaintiff might be “type of person who sues.” Some of them will believe health care providers should never be sued. If the defendant is a well-liked member of the community, potential jurors will be even more likely to hold this belief. Many of the potential jurors will believe a verdict in favor of the plaintiff will cause the price of health care and their insurance premiums to increase. All these misinformed beliefs make it harder for an injured patient to prevail in a medical malpractice action.

For more information on Medical Malpractice Claims in Tennessee, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (931) 322-5055 today.

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