If you suffered injuries as a result of a health care provider’s mistake, you will certainly want to know how medical malpractice cases work in Iowa. There are multiple requirements to prove such a claim, all of which involve complicated areas of law. You can trust a skilled Iowa medical malpractice attorney to assist with the legal requirements, but some background information may be useful.
Compliance with the Statute of Limitations
The first requirement for a medical malpractice case deals with timing. Under Iowa’s statute of limitations, you have two years to file a lawsuit in civil court. The clock starts to run when you discovered your medical malpractice injuries, or should have discovered them through reasonable diligence. If you do not initiate litigation within this time period, you are forever barred from seeking compensation for your losses.
Standard of Care
You need to show what kind of care you should have received from a provider, which will vary depending on the circumstances. Generally, the standard revolves around the level of care and skill an ordinary physician would have exercised when delivering treatment. For purposes of the standard of care, the provider’s medical specialty may be a factor.
Breach of the Standard of Care
Once you establish the standard of care that applies to your medical malpractice case, you need to prove how your provider deviated from said standard of care. Unfortunately, statistics show that one in five patients suffer some form of medical error, such as:
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part or on the wrong patient;
- Mistakes with prescriptions, including dosage and type of medication;
- Leaving a medical device inside the body after surgery; and
- Perforating a blood vessel, internal organ, or nerve with a scalpel.
In addition, there have been many instances with mistakes in diagnosing a medical condition. For instance, a provider may identify the wrong ailment for the patient. Not only are patients treated for an illness they do not have, but they are also not receiving the necessary treatment.
Another diagnosis error is failing to recognize the signs of an ailment. A missed or delayed diagnosis may lead to a worsening of a medical condition which is not being treated at all. Failure to diagnose cancer is one of the most outrageous forms of diagnosis mistakes, often leading to a terminal condition because the doctor did not catch the disease in time to treat it.
The human body is a very complicated machine, which can make causation one most complex elements. You must show that there is a direct, causal link between the breach of the standard of care and your injuries. If your injuries may have been affected by a factor other than your doctor’s mistake, you may fail to prove your case.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Medical Malpractice Lawyer About Legal Requirements
For more information on medical malpractice cases, please contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP to set up a free consultation. You can reach our Council Bluffs, IA office a 712-309-3738 or go online to speak with an experienced Iowa medical malpractice attorney.