Proving Your Nursing Malpractice Case
Ragain & Clark March 17, 2023
Just like hospitals or doctors, nurses have a legal obligation to provide medical treatment that conforms to the applicable duty of care. This means that they can be liable for malpractice, just as any other medical provider. However, cases of nursing malpractice present unique challenges when it comes to proving your case, especially for non-lawyers. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of nursing malpractice, an experienced nursing malpractice lawyer can prove your case so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
Nurses Are Often Overlooked
When it comes to pursuing a malpractice claim, nurses are often overlooked when it comes to potentially liable parties. This is most likely because nurses are typically under the supervision of a doctor, hospital, or other medical organization, who should be directing their actions. However, it is practically impossible to supervise every task that each nurse does throughout the day. Just like doctors, nurses can make mistakes. And while some mistakes may be the result of common human error, many of these mistakes are the result of negligence.
Another reason why nurses may be overlooked is that people do not understand the responsibility that nurses have. While they do not have the same education and training, nurses are licensed medical professionals just like doctors. As a result, they have professional standards that they must adhere to, standards that are in place for the safety of their patients. When they violate those standards, they can be held accountable by a nursing malpractice lawyer if their actions resulted in harm to a patient.
Identifying Nursing Malpractice
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to identify when a nurse has committed malpractice or acted negligently. Again, they may have been acting at the direction of a doctor. Or their mistake may have been the result of someone else’s negligence or malpractice. For example, they may have administered the wrong medication at the direction of a doctor or because they were provided the wrong medication by the hospital’s pharmacy. At the same time, nurses are expected to use their professional judgment and exercise due care to prevent harm to their patients. Here are some examples of common sources of nursing malpractice:
- Failing to notate a patient’s chart
- Failing to adequately monitor a patient’s vital signs
- Improper use of medical equipment
- Failing to provide adequate care
- Failure to communicate with other nurses and supervising physicians
Knowing when a nurse has committed malpractice requires knowledge of the applicable standard of care as well as the protocols and procedures that are in place. In short, identifying nursing malpractice can be extraordinarily difficult for non-lawyers. This is why you should reach out to a nursing malpractice lawyer if you believe that you have suffered harm as a result of malpractice.
How Do You Prove Your Claim?
Most malpractice claims arise when the patient suffers some adverse consequence of their treatment that was unexpected. The fact that you suffered side effects or some other adverse outcome is, by itself, not enough to prove malpractice. You need to be able to identify where the nurse failed to meet the relevant standard of care – something that is rarely obvious, even to the patient who was harmed.
This is where a nursing malpractice lawyer can help. They can use their knowledge and experience to formulate a hypothesis as to where or how the nurse breached their duty of care. They can then use the legal process to conduct an investigation by obtaining your medical records and other documentation surrounding the treatment you received. From there, they will be able to determine whether you have a claim and what you need to do to build the strongest possible case.
It is very possible that there may be multiple parties at fault. The nurse may have been negligent, but they may have been handling too many patients because the hospital refused to address significant staffing issues. Alternatively, the harm could have been avoided had the attending physician provided adequate supervision. A nursing malpractice lawyer can make sure that all of the appropriate parties are held accountable.
Talk to a Nursing Malpractice Lawyer at Ragain & Clark Today
Suffering harm at the hands of a medical provider can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, you do not have to face this situation alone. At Ragain & Clark, we have helped thousands of clients across Montana and Wyoming get the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) or contact us online today.