Connecticut Personal
Injury Attorneys
New Haven, Connecticut | Weber & Rubano Law Firm

How Do You Know If You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

March 8, 2024Articles

We place a tremendous amount of trust in our doctors, assuming that we’ll always receive their absolute best efforts to treat our injuries and medical conditions. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes fail to live up to the standards set by the medical community and the result is a serious injury to a patient. When a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider gives substandard care, it can become a medical malpractice case if the patient suffers an injury with physical and financial consequences due to the error. These consequences are known as “damages” in a medical malpractice claim in New Haven.

Not all negative outcomes of medical treatment constitute malpractice. You may be unhappy with the results of a surgery or medical procedure, or you reacted badly to a doctor-prescribed medication, but is it malpractice? How do you know if you received substandard treatment and are a victim of medical malpractice?

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Not every unhappy patient recovers compensation. In order for a negative medical outcome to be a case of malpractice, the injury victim must prove the following:


  • A doctor/patient relationship was in place at the time the malpractice occurred
  • The medical provider owed a duty of care to treat the patient to the standard of care accepted by the medical community
  • The provider breached their duty through negligence or a medical mistake
  • The negligent breach of duty caused an injury
  • The injury victim suffered damages such as additional medical costs and pain and suffering

If a case meets the above legal requirements for medical malpractice, the provider is responsible for the injuries and damages to the patient. In a successful medical malpractice claim, the provider’s malpractice insurance compensates the victim for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. In some cases, other damages apply such as disfigurement compensation or compensation for limb loss or diminished quality of life. If the malpractice results in death, family members may recover additional compensation and a sense of justice and accountability through a wrongful death claim against the negligent practitioner.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

A 2016 study suggested that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Although the medical profession now disputes the method and results of this study, it remains clear that medical malpractice remains an all-too-common problem in medical facilities throughout the U.S. Common types of medical malpractice include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Missed diagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Medication mistakes
  • Surgical errors including wrong-site/wrong-side/wrong-patient surgeries and surgical implements left behind
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Lack of informed consent
  • Inadequate post-surgical care or followup

The medical community considers wrong-side, wrong-site, and wrong-patient surgeries to be “Never Events,” yet an alarming number of these Never Events occur each year.

What Are the Warning Signs of Medical Malpractice?

It’s all too easy to blindly trust our medical professionals, but mistakes happen. Not all providers quickly identify and admit to their errors. After receiving medical care, it’s important to watch for warning signs of medical malpractice. Some signs that your doctor’s care constitutes negligence include the following:

  • Your surgery, medication, or medical procedure didn’t help you
  • Your symptoms worsened after receiving treatment or you developed new symptoms
  • Your medical provider doesn’t respond to your concerns or follow up with you on your questions
  • You developed a post-surgical infection or complication

When medical malpractice cases come to court, the judge instructs the jury to ask the question, “Would another, reasonable doctor have acted the same under the same circumstances?” If the answer is no, then the doctor committed medical malpractice and is liable for the victim’s damages.