To sue for medical malpractice, you have to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed. For this reason, one of the ways that a doctor or his or her attorney will attempt to defend against a medical malpractice claim is to assert that he or she never had a doctor-patient relationship. Under these circumstances, you'll have to work hard to prove that this relationship actually existed.
The History of the Doctor-Patient Distinction
The concept of a doctor-patient relationship became important in 1901 when a husband wrote a letter to a doctor asking him to assist his wife in a difficult pregnancy. The doctor did not assist them, and the wife and her baby passed away as a result of complications associated with the pregnancy. Since then, courts have ruled that doctors are not obligated to treat patients and would not be held responsible for a patient's injury or death.
Doctors may be sued for medical malpractice not only for treating a patient improperly, but also for failing to treat a patient. If a doctor examines you and fails to warn you about a preventable condition, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice.
Establishing a Doctor-Patient Relationship
For a doctor-patient relationship to exist, the relationship needs to be voluntary. The doctor needs to have agreed to treat the patient, and the patient must have agreed to be treated. If the doctor was forced to perform a procedure that he or she was not capable of, this may not constitute a doctor-patient relationship.
After it is mutually agreed upon that the doctor and patient will work together, there must be examinations and treatment for medical conditions. The treatment must also be ongoing. For instance, if the doctor examined the patient once, but medical problems emerged long after the examination, a doctor-patient relationship would not be established.
The simplest way to show that you had a doctor-patient relationship is to obtain medical records. However, your doctor may argue that your relationship was terminated before the medical problem occurred. Under that circumstance, you'll need to prove that an examination or medical treatments occurred afterwards.
If you are concerned about whether you'll be able to file a successful lawsuit against your doctor, make sure to work with a medical malpractice law firm that works with patients. They will make sure that you have the documentation necessary to prove that you had an established relationship.Share
8 June 2019
It can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself legally in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re liable to be disoriented or in shock, you may be injured, and you’re surely worried about your passenger or the other driver. At least, that’s how I felt. The thing is, the things you say and do in the immediate aftermath of an accident may affect a legal case later. Depending on who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state, you may want to sue the other driver for damages, or you may find yourself being sued. My blog is designed to give you tips for a car accident lawsuit, no matter which side you find yourself on.