Preexisting Conditions in Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional causes injury to their patient. Common types of malpractice include a misdiagnosis, surgical errors, and failure to treat the condition, among others. There is a common belief that when medical malpractice occurs to a patient with a preexisting condition then the medical provider cannot be at fault. However, this is not always the case.
Defining Preexisting Conditions
A preexisting condition is a physical or mental health issue which a patient has prior to being treated for a different condition. Preexisting conditions can include anything from specific allergies and birth defects, to mental illnesses and cancer. In many medical malpractice situations, these preexisting conditions are considered to be a cause of the malpractice by the medical professional.
The Relationship Between Preexisting Conditions and Malpractice
Preexisting conditions might make it difficult to identify the real cause of error in a medical malpractice case. It can be complicated to prove which injuries were caused through the doctor’s negligence and which ones existed already. There are two main factors that courts consider in a malpractice case involving an existing condition.
First is whether the medical care aggravated the preexisting condition. If a healthcare worker was informed about a preexisting condition, or knew about a prior injury and ended up making it worse, then the doctor is considered to have acted negligently. The second factor is the relation of the malpractice to the preexisting injury. If there is no relation between the preexisting condition and the type of malpractice done by the caregiver, then the caregiver remains legally at fault for the harm that occurred. Therefore, the mere presence of an existing condition does not absolve a medical professional of responsibility for an error in treatment.
Speak to a Lawyer About Preexisting Conditions and Malpractice Claims
The consequences of medical malpractice can be costly and some can even leave you with permanent injuries. If you or a loved one has been harmed in the act of a medical examination or operation, you might be entitled to compensation, whether you had preexisting conditions prior to the incident or not. The experienced team at Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC could review your case and determine what actions need to be taken. Contact us today to find out more about your options.