Many Iowans believe that medical malpractice is any mistreatment or shoddy care that doctors give while caring for their patients.
Medical Malpractice in Iowa is Legally Specific
Unfortunately, we can’t bring a lawsuit if you have just received poor care or been treated badly. While that may happen all too often, we can only bring cases where medical malpractice has actually occurred.
This legal definition of “medical malpractice” means when a medical procedure or treatment is being done, the doctor or other medical provider must perform that to the standard that other doctors in a similar situation would do.
That standard of care can be difficult to define because that standard can differ between medical providers and even different procedures. That the doctor breached that standard of care is what you will need to prove to win your Iowa medical malpractice claim.
Proving Your Medical Malpractice Claim
In order to prove this, you will need to hire an expert witness who has similar experience and training as the doctor who hurt you. This expert will need to review your medical records and come to their own independent medical opinion about whether malpractice occurred. If they believe the standard of care was not followed by the doctor who hurt you, then the hurdle of proving medical malpractice occurred will be overcome.
As you might imagine, hiring these types of experts can be very expensive. They need to analyze a complex medical situation and come to their own conclusion about whether malpractice occurred. This can take hours of time and cost thousands of dollars.
How a Malpractice Claim is Like Any Other Personal Injury Case
Once you are able to prove that the standard of care was breached, a malpractice claim is just like any other negligence claim. That means:
- Someone had a duty – in this case, the doctor/patient relationship
- Someone breached that duty – in this case, breached the standard of care
- The breach of the duty caused harm – in this case, serious injury or death of a patient. This harm must be very serious, or the possible damages awarded will be capped at $250,000.
- The harm resulted in damages – in this case, loss of life, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other harms and losses are all damages that you or your loved one could have suffered.
Roadblocks to Proving Your Medical Malpractice Case
In Iowa, generally speaking, you only have two years from the date of the harm in which to bring your medical malpractice claim. Prior to that date, your case needs to be reviewed by both an attorney and then a medical expert they hire to see if your claim has merit.
Merit is a legal term that means an expert has reviewed your claim and has determined the medical professional that hurt you has breached the standard of care. This paperwork has to be filed shortly after you file your lawsuit or your lawsuit will be dismissed. If your claim does not have merit, it’s unlikely you will be able to bring a claim against the doctor who hurt you.
Finding an expert to declare your lawsuit has merit takes time. If you suspect that malpractice occurred to you or your loved one, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You may be grieving because of the loss of a loved one, or dealing with being out of work because of your medical injury. However, contacting a lawyer sooner rather than later so they can begin screening your case is very important.
Medical malpractice cases in Iowa are difficult. You need to make sure your case is being handled correctly. While searching for the right Iowa medical malpractice lawyer for you, make sure to ask each attorney if they have tried medical malpractice cases in court. This can be crucial if your case ends up going to trial.
RSH Legal takes on serious Iowa medical malpractice claims. If you would like a free, no-obligation case evaluation of your serious Iowa malpractice case, call us today at 1-319-774-1903.