What Does It Take To Hold A Doctor Liable For Prescribing The Wrong Medication?


According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approximately 1.3 million people are injured each year due to medication errors. In many cases, these injuries are caused by patient mistakes. However, sometimes the healthcare provider prescribing the drug makes an error that results in harm to the patient. If this happened to you, here's what you need to know about getting compensation from the liable person.

Elements of Medical Negligence and Malpractice

There are many ways a prescription error can occur. The healthcare provider could

  • Prescribe the wrong medication
  • Prescribe the wrong dosage
  • Misdiagnose the underlying condition and write the prescription based on that
  • Prescribe medication the patient is allergic to
  • Fail to check for possible harmful interactions with other medications the patient is taking
  • Fail to warn the patient of possible harmful side effects

Prescription errors are rarely intentional. The majority of the time they are the result of people not paying enough attention to details, which doesn't always amount to medical negligence or malpractice. To prevail in court, you would need to first show that it was your healthcare provider who made the prescribing mistake.

A prescription from your doctor may change hands several times, and any person in the chain of possession could have made the error. For instance, the pharmacist could have misread the paperwork and gave you the wrong medication as a result. In this case, the pharmacist would be liable for your injuries, not your healthcare provider.

If your healthcare provider is the one who made the mistake, you would need to show he or she failed to meet the standard of care required in the situation. In medical malpractice law, the medical standard of care is defined as the level of care the average professional in the same field with the same level of training and experience would provide under similar circumstances.

Showing the medical professional who prescribed the medication deviated from this standard will be the key to winning your case. For instance, if the doctor didn't ask you about your allergies to certain drugs or failed to check your medical file for other medications you're taking, you would have a good case for damages if you experience an allergic reaction or dangerous drug interaction as a result.

However, proving a healthcare provider didn't meet the standard of care is not always this easy, especially in situations where diseases are difficult to diagnose. For example, it's not unusual for medical conditions to exhibit the same symptoms, making it difficult to pinpoint the disease you're suffering from. If another reasonable medical professional in the same field would make the same diagnosing mistake, the court may not feel the healthcare provider's actions rise to the level of negligence required to win the case.

Lastly, you need to show you were harmed by the doctor's mistake. If you were given the wrong medication but didn't suffer any adverse affects (or the harm was minimal), you either won't recover as much money as you could if you had experienced greater harm or you may lose altogether. However, even the worsening of your condition due to the ineffectiveness of the wrong drug given may count as harm.

Possible Damages

If you prove your case in court, you could win compensation for medical bills, lost wages, long-term care or rehabilitation, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. If the healthcare provider's actions were particularly egregious, you may even be awarded punitive damages.

Medical malpractice cases can be challenging to litigate and often require the testimony of expert witnesses and lots of documentation. It's best to work with a personal injury attorney who can coordinate these resources for you and give your case a fighting chance. For more information about this issue, contact an attorney. Or you can click for more info.


4 November 2016

Consulting with an Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer

Ten years ago, I was injured in a car wreck while commuting to work. When a driver rear-ended my car, I hurt my back. Unfortunately, I had to undergo a couple of weeks of physical therapy. Even after receiving physical therapy, my back never felt as good as it did prior to the wreck. Have you been injured in a car wreck recently? Consider talking with an experienced accident and personal injury lawyer. This type of attorney can help you decide whether filing a lawsuit is your best course of action to take. On this blog, I hope you will discover the benefits of speaking with an accident and personal injury attorney soon after getting injured in a car wreck. Enjoy!