Can I File Medical Malpractice for Sepsis?

Sepsis is a deadly type of blood and tissue reaction to an infection within the body. Without immediate treatment, sepsis can be fatal. Sepsis is also preventable, by avoiding the original infection. Infections stem from contamination of wounds, such as unsanitary premises, unwashed hands, and unclean medical tools. If you or a loved one has sepsis, you may be able to trace it back to negligent patient care from a hospital or physician. If this is the case, you have grounds for a Tennessee medical malpractice claim and should contact a Nashville personal injury lawyer.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

The definition of “medical malpractice” is a health care professional or hospital causing an injury to a patient through an omission or negligent act. Not all sepsis cases will automatically give patients the right to file medical malpractice claims. Despite this being a serious and preventable health issue, sometimes no one is to blame for sepsis – or the patient is to blame him/herself. For the state courts to agree that medical malpractice caused the sepsis, the patient will need to prove that someone else had the power to prevent the complication but negligently failed to do so.

If you aren’t sure whether your sepsis case has the elements required for a medical malpractice lawsuit, consult an attorney. An experienced lawyer will be able to listen to your recent health problems and tell you if he or she believes you’ve been the victim of malpractice. Signs of malpractice may include dirty or dingy premises, incompetent or inexperienced physician, misdiagnosis, incorrect medications, or lax patient care, such as failure to change bandages often.

Tennessee medical malpractice laws have strict requirements for filing a claim. You must first make sure you haven’t missed the state’s three-year deadline. You have three years from the date of the malpractice or the date you discover you have sepsis to file your case with the Tennessee courts. Before your trial, you will need to hire an expert witness to fill out an affidavit of merit on your behalf. You will need to submit an affidavit stating that a medical professional believes your case has a good-faith basis within 90 days of filing your malpractice claim.

Elements You Need for a Claim

Once your medical malpractice case is in motion, you will need to focus on how you plan to prove the defendant’s negligence. The burden of proof is on you in a personal injury claim, not on the defendant. You and your attorney can work together to come up with a strategy. In general, you will need to prove three things for a successful medical malpractice claim:

  1. You and the defendant had a patient-doctor relationship. The person you’re blaming for your sepsis will have to have owed you medical duties of care, such as that of a doctor, nurse, or health care facility. You will need proof that you were the defendant’s patient.
  2. The defendant was negligent. Sepsis stems from a bodily infection. Sepsis can still occur even if all medical professionals do everything they can to prevent and treat an infection. The doctor may be liable for the illness if the doctor breaches a duty to a patient.
  3. The negligence caused the sepsis. Even with evidence that a doctor was negligent, the doctor will not be liable unless his/her negligence was the proximate (main) cause of the illness in question.

You will also need to show that you suffered damages because of the defendant’s medical malpractice. Sepsis is a damage, as are the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering you experienced because of the sepsis. If you lost a loved one, you might need to file a wrongful death claim.