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Doctors are human: Mistakes happen, but patients have recourse

Doctors are people, and people make mistakes. Even the best, most well-trained doctors in the country can miss factors leading to diagnoses or make a mistake in treatment. The issues are compounded by the fact that, although health care science has come a long way, there are still mysteries within the human body. When a patient is injured by a doctor's error, however, the patient has avenues of recourse regardless of the type of mistake.

Whether a doctor made an honest mistake or a malicious decision, patients who suffer from injuries can file medical malpractice claims. The type of mistake might play a role in how juries see a case and the type of award they render to a plaintiff. However, any injury should be reviewed based on factors such as the significance of the injury and the total expense to the patient.

Expenses that come from such injuries can include immediate issues such as medical bills and lost wages. They might also include the loss of future wages if the patient is expected to suffer long-term injuries. In some cases, compensation might also cover unqualified expenses such as pain, suffering or loss of consortium.

Because medical malpractice issues are complex, seeking professional assistance with a claim can enhance your chances of success. A legal professional can help you identify all possible defendants in a case and create a strategy for a lawsuit. Strategies might include negotiations for settlement or a hard line that takes the issue all the way to court. The choice for such strategies depends on your goals for the case: Is it simply about compensation, or do you want to shine a light on issues?

Source: Consumer Reports, "Mistakes even good doctors make," accessed Sep. 18, 2015

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