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Whenever someone visits a medical professional or hospital, they expect that they are being given the most thorough and competent medical care possible. Indeed, most doctors, dentists, and nursing homes provide excellent care. However, there are instances where the care received falls below the standard of what is acceptable. When this below-par care results in serious injury or death, the patient may have a medical malpractice claim.

A Chapel Hill medical malpractice lawyer can work with people who have suffered serious injury or death due to the negligence of doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes, to fight for fair compensation for their injuries. Contact a personal injury lawyer today.

Medical Malpractice Laws in North Carolina

Generally speaking, the legal standard that must be met for a successful medical malpractice claim is the same that must be met for any negligence claim alleging personal injury. The five elements of duty, breach of that duty, causation, scope, and physical damages are all required. However, given the severity of the allegations and specialization that medical malpractice claim trials require, there are other special steps that must be followed.

The most important and difficult of these steps is the requirement that the complaint filed in court be accompanied by an expert’s affidavit outlining the defendant’s negligence.

Further complicating the matter is Rule 702 of North Carolina Evidence Rules, which states that the expert must be a specialist in the same field as the defendant. For example, if a plaintiff alleges that an orthopedic surgeon performed poorly during a knee operation, the expert must also be an orthopedic specialist.

Statute of Limitations

One must also keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. The statute of limitations is a time limit that a court imposes on a plaintiff to file their claim in court.

This requirement is slightly more complicated than that for other personal injury cases. Generally speaking, according to North Carolina Statute 1-15, a suit must be filed within three years of the injury. A Chapel Hill medical malpractice can help an individual file their suit.

Duty of Care

All doctors retain a duty of care towards their patients. The standard of care is used to determine whether a doctor is fulfilling or violating their duty. The standard of care is defined in North Carolina Statute 90-21.12 as being:

“…the standards of practice among members of the same health care profession with similar training and experience situated in the same or similar communities under the same or similar circumstances at the time of the alleged act…”

In other words, the standard is that the care was acceptable given the particular doctor, in the particular community, and in the particular circumstances. Ultimately, it will be a jury who decides if the care that the plaintiff received fell below this standard.

Consult with a Chapel Hill Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Having to make sure that your doctors take the proper steps during your care is something that people should not have to worry about. Unfortunately, doctors are human and do occasionally make mistakes. If those mistakes fall below the standard of acceptable care, you may have the right to fair compensation for your injuries.

A Chapel Hill medical malpractice lawyer can work with people who have suffered serious injuries or death as the result of a doctor’s or hospital’s malpractice. They can gather all of the medical evidence and consult experts in their specialized fields to determine the extent of the injuries and whether the treating doctor was negligent.

Armed with this information, an attorney will stand by your side during every step of the process, from depositions and pretrial court appearances, through a potential trial. Contact a lawyer today to see how they can help.