What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?

What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?
What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?

The decision to go to a hospital, clinic, or emergency room always comes with a certain level of trust. We seek medical help with the expectation that we will receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, there are times when medical professionals or facilities fail to meet this standard of care, resulting in harm or injury to patients, which is essentially the definition of “medical malpractice.”

Medical malpractice claims can arise from a wide range of issues. Regardless of the type of medical malpractice claim you are dealing with, you have a right to recover damages and hold liable parties accountable for the harm you have endured. However, proving a medical malpractice claim may be difficult as it requires deep knowledge of the legal process and substantial experience. That is why you might want to hire a medical malpractice lawyer in Danbury to handle your claim.

Common Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice may occur in any healthcare setting when a medical professional’s negligent act or omission causes harm to a patient. Among some of the most common medical malpractice claims are:


Misdiagnosis is arguably the most common form of medical malpractice that occurs when a healthcare professional fails to recognize the signs and symptoms of a patient’s condition and makes a wrong diagnosis. A patient who has been misdiagnosed can receive delayed treatment, incorrect treatment, or even unnecessary treatment. Misdiagnosis often occurs in cases of cancer, heart attacks, and infections. Statistically, healthcare providers across the United States make an estimated 7.4 million misdiagnosis errors yearly.


As the name implies, this form of medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to recognize the signs and symptoms of a condition within a reasonable amount of time. When a doctor delays diagnosis, it can result in damage that is irreversible or difficult to treat. Early detection is key to reducing complications and providing the correct treatment for the patient.


Failure to treat is a type of medical malpractice that occurs when a healthcare professional fails or neglects to provide proper treatment for a patient. Common examples include a failure to prescribe adequate medication, order necessary tests, or refer a patient to a specialist.


Medical Malpractice Claims

Errors in the surgical setting occur during surgery and can lead to severe damage, infections, other complications, or even death. Surgical errors can include:

  • Incorrect incisions.
  • Damage to organs.
  • Operating on the wrong body part.
  • Leaving instruments inside the patient.
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient, among others.


Anesthesia errors can occur during surgical procedures. Common types of anesthesia-related errors include:

  • Administering too much or not enough anesthesia, miscommunication between staff members.
  • Failing to monitor the patient’s condition during the procedure.
  • Ignoring signs of complications.

Depending on the severity of the error, it can result in brain damage, heart attacks, and even death.


Emergency rooms are a fast-paced and high-stress environment where medical professionals must make quick decisions to save lives. Mistakes are common in ERs, including failure to order necessary tests, medication errors, or premature discharge.


Medical errors during labor and delivery can have devastating consequences for both the mother and the baby. Some of the most common childbirth injuries include cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and facial paralysis. In many cases, these injuries occur due to errors in monitoring fetal distress or failing to perform timely Cesarean sections (C-sections), among other causes.


Medication errors are a significant problem in the healthcare system, with some studies estimating that at least 1.5 million people suffer harm by inappropriate medication use. These errors can occur at any stage of the medication process, from ordering to administering. Medication errors can cause side effects, allergic reactions, or even death in extreme cases.


Surgical procedures are very complex and require utmost precision, and patients need to receive proper care before and after surgery to minimize the risk of complications. Poor pre-operative care can increase the risk of infection or bleeding during surgery, while poor post-operative care can hinder recovery and lead to serious complications.

Informed consent is an essential element of a doctor-patient relationship. It involves providing the patient with information about their medical condition, treatment options, and potential risks to enable them to make an informed decision about their care. Without informed consent, patients may undergo treatment they do not want or receive care not in their best interests.

Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim

To sue any medical professional for malpractice, a plaintiff (the harmed patient or surviving family members if a patient died) must establish the following four elements:

  1. A relationship existed. The healthcare provider’s legal responsibility arises when you can establish a relationship with the provider, known as a “doctor-patient relationship.” You can prove the existence of such a relationship by showing that the provider agreed to serve a patient’s medical needs.
  2. A deviation from the accepted standards of care. In a medical malpractice claim, a breach of care occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care expected in their profession. Medical experts establish these standards and typically reflect what other professionals in their field would consider appropriate for the patient’s situation.
  3. Causation. This element requires you to demonstrate that the healthcare provider’s deviation from the accepted standards of care caused your injuries or harm. Causation can be challenging to establish, as you must show the acts or omissions by the healthcare provider directly led to the harm caused.
  4. Damages. The final requirement is that you suffered damages due to the healthcare provider’s actions or negligence. You must show that the healthcare provider’s actions directly led to your medical expenses, lost income or income, or other quantifiable and non-qualifiable (e.g., pain and suffering) losses.

Proving that your case meets the requirements to sue a healthcare provider for medical malpractice may be challenging, especially considering that hospitals usually employ highly skilled and aggressive lawyers to defend them from any injury and wrongful death claims resulting from medical malpractice.

The Steps to Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim

The following are some of the steps involved in the process of filing a claim for compensation against a healthcare provider who committed medical malpractice:

  1. Gather evidence of medical malpractice. The success of your medical malpractice claim depends on the availability of evidence to prove the four elements mentioned in the section above. The evidence can include medical records, doctor’s notes, lab results, witness statements, and any other relevant information related to the medical procedure.
  2. Consult with medical experts. Before suing a healthcare provider, you might want to get an opinion from a medical expert to strengthen your medical malpractice claim. A medical expert can review your medical records and provide an unbiased opinion on whether or not there was medical negligence. The expert’s opinion can be critical in providing irrefutable and reliable evidence to support your case in court.
  3. Hire a lawyer. Always hire a knowledgeable and results-driven lawyer who has vast experience in medical malpractice cases. Preferably, your lawyer should have relevant experience in handling a claim similar to yours. Your lawyer will gather evidence, consult with medical experts, prepare the complaint, and represent you in court. Medical malpractice cases can be complex, so it is essential to have a lawyer who understands the legal system and has the qualifications to pursue fair financial recovery.
  4. Prepare the complaint and serve the defendants. Your lawyer will prepare the complaint, a legal document outlining the medical negligence that occurred and the damages you suffered as a result. Once the complaint is filed, it must be served to all defendants whose acts or omissions caused the harm. The defendants will have a specific amount of time to respond to the complaint, and – after they do – the discovery phase will begin.
  5. Participate in discovery. During the discovery phase, both parties exchange information related to the medical malpractice case. This includes depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents (e.g., medical records). The parties can use the discovery to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing party’s case and decide whether it makes sense to litigate the matter in court.
  6. Engage in settlement negotiations. After the discovery phase, the parties will usually enter into settlement negotiations as a last resort in resolving the dispute amicably. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Remember that once the parties reach a settlement, the case gets closed and does not go to trial.
  7. Initiate trial proceedings and litigation. A medical malpractice claim will generally proceed to trial when there is no settlement between the parties. During the trial, both parties present evidence and arguments in front of the judge or jury. The judge or jury will ultimately decide whether or not there was medical negligence and, if so, what damages to award to the harmed patient.

A lawyer can offer valuable experience and knowledgeable guidance throughout each step of the complex legal process when pursuing a medical malpractice claim.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Medical Malpractice Claims

As someone considering taking legal action after a suspected case of medical malpractice, it is understandable that you might have quite a few questions. Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below, or if the FAQ section below does not address your questions, schedule a consultation with a lawyer.


No, just because you are not satisfied with the results of your medical treatment does not give you grounds to sue for medical malpractice. To succeed in a medical malpractice case, you must prove the following elements: the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, a deviation from the standard of care, causation, and damages. We discussed these four elements in the “Requirements for a Medical Malpractice Claim” section above.


The time limit for medical malpractice claims – called the “statute of limitations” – varies by state. It is always a good idea to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible after discovering your injury to ensure that you do not miss this deadline. In Connecticut, medical malpractice victims have two years from the date of the injury to file a med-mal claim and recover damages for the harm they have suffered (CT Gen Stat § 52-584). If the harmed patient did not discover harm right away, the clock starts ticking from the date the harm should have been reasonably discovered. However, there is a three-year statute of repose. This law extinguishes a patient’s right of action after three years from the date of the negligent act.


To prove medical malpractice, you will typically need to present as much evidence as you can gather, such as medical records, expert testimony, photographs of injuries, a record of damages, and other relevant documentation. Your lawyer can gather and organize all available evidence to build a strong case.


How long it will take to resolve a medical malpractice case varies depending on the complexity of the case, the number of defendants involved, the willingness of the parties to settle, and a wide range of other factors. Some cases settle quickly, within about six months or so, while others may take several years to resolve. A skilled lawyer can give you a more or less accurate estimation of what to expect based on the specifics of your case.


Technically, you can file a medical malpractice claim without the assistance of a lawyer. However, doing so is generally not recommended and may not yield a favorable outcome. Medical malpractice cases are extremely complex, and healthcare providers and their insurers are typically well-prepared to defend against such claims.

A medical malpractice lawyer can navigate the legal system and increase the odds of getting fair compensation for your injuries and related damages.

Brian Flood


Brian has dedicated his entire legal career to helping accident victims. By choice, he has never represented the interests of an insurance company.

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