Medical professionals need a working understanding of the laws in their cities, states, and countries. In the United States, some of the most significant legal issues medical professionals face involve so-called “common law.”
Common law in healthcare covers a wide range of issues, both large and small. Let’s dig into examples and help you understand when you’ll need a lawyer’s help.
Common Law in Healthcare: A Definition
In everyday parlance, the word “common” is synonymous with known or normal. In legal terms, commonality is much different.
The common law system originated in England, and it forms the basis of the current American legal system. When patients head to court to talk about malpractice suits, they’re often citing the common law.
While common laws may originate in customs, they can change with time. Whenever a case heads to court and is decided, the reasoning enters legal records. That decision becomes a sort of precedent, and it can be cited in later cases.
Common issues in healthcare, such as a doctor’s lack of license, could be solved in court. When those issues are in the courtroom, lawyers from both sides will cite prior cases as a nod to common law.
Examples of Common Law in Healthcare
Almost anything that’s been solved in a courtroom in the past could be part of a common law proceeding. But in healthcare, common law cases tend to reference a few key elements.
Examples of common law in healthcare cases include:
- Informed consent. The patient is aware of the risks, benefits, and procedures involved before a medical procedure begins.
- Right of refusal. The patient understands that participation in a procedure is optional.
- Negligence. The patient expects the team to be trained, talented, and focused. Safety comes first.
- Malpractice. The patient’s needs and health are protected from mistakes, fraud, and outright bad medicine.
If you’re facing a case like this, you need a lawyer’s help. Together, you can walk through the issues that sparked the lawsuit. And you can come up with a plan to move forward through the case.
At Florida Healthcare Law Firm, we’d love to help you. Contact us to get started.