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COVID-19 and Medical Malpractice

Ever since coronavirus, or COVID-19, reared its ugly head, it has wreaked havoc on the world. Many countries have seen their economies and people threatened by the disease and its aftereffects. Much has been said about the impact COVID-19 has had and continues to have, and here at Guy Levy Law, our compassionate team hurts on behalf of our clients who are struggling with the impact of the virus.

But one area that hasn’t been discussed as much as it should is what happens when medical malpractice and COVID-19 collide. If you or someone you know received poor treatment for COVID-19, or if you have lost a loved one to this virus, you may be looking at a medical malpractice claim.

Pretty female doctor using her mobile phone while reviewing medical reports in medical consultation.

What is medical malpractice?

Malpractice” happens when a health care professional, such as a doctor or nurse, causes injury to one of their patients because of an incorrect diagnosis, an error in treatment, or poor practices post-treatment. Depending on the severity of the negligence, malpractice may exceed injury and result in the patient’s wrongful death.

Examples of malpractice include, but are not limited to:

– Misreading or ignoring medical test results
– Performing unnecessary surgery
– Giving incorrect medication or dosages
– Prematurely discharging a patient from the hospital

Do I have a valid malpractice suit?

Here are some factors to consider when you’re questioning whether you have a valid malpractice suit. Some are unique to COVID-19, while some apply to any malpractice claim you may have in the future.

– Ask yourself, “was the standard of care violated?”. In simple terms, “standard of care” refers to the degree of care a reasonable person can expect from someone in a caretaking position, such as a healthcare worker. Another way of phrasing this is to ask, “did the doctor or nurse in charge of my care do the best they could to help me?” If the answer is no, you may have a malpractice claim.

– Determine whether the care you were given caused injury or wrongful death. Sometimes, injuries or death happen regardless of the degree of care a patient receives. And on the other side of the spectrum, sometimes the “standard of care” gets violated without resulting in personal injury or wrongful death. In order for a malpractice claim to be valid, you must be able to prove the injury or death was a direct result of the health care professional’s negligence.

– Figure out whether the suit is worth pursuing. COVID-19 has thrust healthcare workers into the public eye, and they’ve received worldwide attention and acclaim for their efforts on the frontlines of the disease. In most cases, these accolades are well-deserved! However, if you’re dealing with a health care worker who doesn’t deserve the recognition as much as their compatriots do, be prepared to field questions from friends and family about why you’re filing this suit.

– Know about the new legal protections for healthcare workers. Several state legislators have drafted new laws to protect healthcare workers – particularly those who care for COVID-19 patients – from malpractice suits. States with special laws for healthcare professionals include:

New York
New Jersey

Some nationwide pieces of legislation, such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, also outline legal protections for healthcare workers during times of emergency.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be challenging for all and has created a unique situation for filing malpractice suits. However, Guy Levy Law is ready to help you navigate these new complexities and find peace in the outcome of your suit. Reach out today.

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