How Do I Know I have a Case



As a patient, if a medical professional neglected to meet the standard care expectations, you may have experienced medical malpractice. Negligence in the medical field is important to recognize as it can often have lasting side effects. Know your rights as a patient and understand the process of filing a lawsuit to obtain the justice you deserve.




Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to meet the standards set in place for the expectation of patient care, also known as “deviating from the standard of care”. This can be committed by any medical professional that has established a relationship with the patient including emergency medical services, nurses, doctors, physician assistants, dentists, and pharmacists. There must be proof that the patient has suffered some harm, injury, or death.


Medical malpractice is a multi-step process but can be broken down into the following components:

A doctor-patient relationship existed. This means that you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired.

There was a violation of standard care. There are medical standards established by the law. If said standards are not met by the doctor, it can be considered as negligence.

An injury was caused by negligence. There must be proof that the doctor’s negligence resulted in an injury. Often, it is difficult to prove that the injury was a direct result of negligence because most patients already have a preexisting medical condition. Medical experts are helpful in this step of the process, as they are better suited to claim whether the patient’s injury was a result of negligence.

The injury led to specific damages. The patient must provide proof that they have suffered as a direct result of negligence. This suffering can occur in the form of physical pain, mental anguish, loss of income, or significant medical expenses.


It is important to recognize and adhere to all requirements when it comes to filing a medical malpractice claim.

Keep in mind the following:

Medical malpractice cases should be brought up sooner rather than later. Some states have specific requirements (also known as the “statute of limitations”) when it comes to the timing of medical malpractice cases. Most states require medical malpractice cases to be filed within 6 months to 2 years after the incident.

Some states require medical malpractice review panels. There is a panel of medical experts that will listen to arguments, review evidence, and provide expertise on the case before it makes its way to court. This panel does not have the final say in the matter, but the court does take it into account when making their decision.

Expert testimony is required at trial. This expert is a medical professional familiar in the field that the negligence took place who provides testimony regarding the incident.


FAQs About Your

Medical Malpractice Case

How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?
Medical Malpractice is a form of professional negligence that can be committed by any medical professional who is involved in giving care to a patient. To prove medical malpractice, a claimant must show that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the professional violated the standard of care, and an injury resulted from that violation.    
What is “informed consent” and how does this relate to malpractice?
In Rhode Island, informed consent refers to the conversation a medical professional has with their patient when they explain the proposed course of treatment and its risks. The physician must also offer information for alternative treatments and/or the option of not treating a specific illness. Rhode Island requires a five-part test to decide if there is validity in a medical malpractice case surrounding a lack of informed consent. This test includes: the physician’s explanation of risk was inadequate, the risk was known and withheld by the physician, the risk was a valid concern, and the injury in question was caused by this undisclosed risk.
How can a jury determine if a physician’s actions were negligent?
All medical professionals are expected to abide by a standard of care. A judge is responsible for questions of law. A juror is a trier of fact. While a jury listens to an entire trial, their job is to take the law as described to them by the judge and apply all of the facts and information that were relayed to them through testimony throughout the trial. A jury is then responsible for rendering a verdict based on the law given to them during jury instructions by the judge and their opinion a to whether or not the case presented by the plaintiff meets or exceeds the standard of law as defined by the judge of negligence by the medical professional.
What are examples of medical malpractice?
A licensed medical professional's actions that fall below the standard of care include failure to diagnose/misdiagnosis, failure to order proper testing, failure to recognize symptoms, misreading/ignoring laboratory results, surgical errors or wrong-site surgery, improper medication/dosages, unnecessary surgery, poor follow-up or aftercare, premature discharge, or disregarding or not taking an appropriate patient history.  
How much time do I have to start my case?
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Rhode Island is up to three years after the discovery of their medical condition. In Massachusetts, patients are given up to three years from the discovery date if they would not have reasonably known of the malpractice. In Connecticut, patients are given up to two years to file their case.
Do I have any medical rights?
You have the right to:
  • Access information regarding your case that is accurate, easy to understand, and in your language.
  • Access any assistance you may need to understand your medical information.
  • Be involved in decisions regarding your medical treatment.
  • Receive respectful care from any medical professional.
  • Confidentiality regarding your medical care and treatments.
  • Read and copy your medical records to ensure accuracy.
  • File a complaint against any medical staff who treats you.

Different Types of Medical Malpractice - malpractice law firm Medical Malpractice It is the responsibility of medical professionals to care for the patients. However, medical malpractice occurs frequently. Take advantage of this free book to learn more about medical malpractice and legality of the subject. Free Ebook

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