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Medical battery is intertwined with the legal theories of assault and battery. Assault occurs when one party tries to inflict physical harm onto another. Battery occurs when one actually inflicts physical harm on a person. Assault is a type of attempted battery.

Medical Battery Definition

Medical battery occurs when someone inflicts physical harm on another in a medical setting. Battery is the intent to inflict harmful or offensive touching. Harmful means that it results in some type of injury. Offensive means that it insults someone’s dignity. The legal theory of battery can occur by anyone in any setting. Medical battery occurs by a medical professional in a medical setting. Because medical battery is a very specific legal theory, it is important to hire an experienced California medical battery attorney that has dealt with representing medical battery victims in the past.

Medical battery involves intent. The plaintiff is not required to prove that the medical provider committed the act intentionally to bring about that harm,  but the plaintiff must prove that the medical provider meant to physically do the act. One of the most common cases of a medical battery is when a medical procedure is conducted without the consent of the patient.

Examples of Medical Battery

Medical battery could take place in many different ways. Some of the most common examples of medical battery include:

  • When the medical provider performs a procedure without the patient’s consent
  • When the medical provider performs a different procedure than what the patient consented to
  • When the medical provider performs a procedure that the patient had expressed conditional consent to
  • When the medical provider performs a substantially different procedure than what the patient accepted

For example, if you had consented to the doctor to have your right kidney removed, but the doctor removed your left kidney, you may have a claim for medical battery against the doctor for having your left kidney removed.

What is Informed Consent?

Informed consent is a type of medical theory where a patient must give the medical provider their authorization or agreement to receive such medical treatment. A surgical patient’s consent is specific to only the acts that they consent to. For example, if a patient consents to heart surgery, the doctor cannot perform foot surgery. Consent is not a blanket statement. However, in certain circumstances, such as emergency situations, a medical provider does not necessarily need to obtain medical consent.

Informed Consent with Medical Emergencies

In certain circumstances, such as when the patient is unconscious, the doctor can perform a medical procedure without the patient’s consent. For example, if the patient is in a coma, the doctor has implied consent to operate on the patient’s heart. However, if no emergency exception exists, the doctor must then obtain consent from the patient.

Can you give informed consent?

Informed consent can be given orally or in writing. Informed consent is most likely given in writing in medical cases through a waiver signed by the patient while in the hospital prior to the surgery.

What is the difference between medical malpractice and medical battery?

Medical malpractice and medical battery are oftentimes confused as one. Although both take place in a medical environment, medical malpractice is a broader term used to describe cases where healthcare providers have been negligent. Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Surgical mistakes
  • Birth injuries
  • Failure to treat an injury
  • Misdiagnosis

Medical battery involves touching the patient, whereas medical malpractice involves negligence on behalf of the healthcare provider.

How do you prove medical battery?

There are different elements that an attorney must meet in order to have a successful medical battery claim against a defendant. Medical malpractice involves negligence elements, whereas a medical battery case involves proving elements that are more in line with the legal term of battery. The different elements that an attorney has to prove include:

  • Intent: there needs to be some type of voluntary act coupled with the intent to touch by the medical provider.
  • Causation: this is proven through two different types of causation. The first type is actual cause, which means that but for the medical professional’s battery, the patient would not have suffered injuries. The second type is proximate cause, which means that it was reasonably foreseeable that injury would occur if the medical professional engaged in some type of battery.
  • Harmful or offensive contact: you do not necessarily need to suffer any type of injuries as a result of the contact, inoffensive contact will suffice. Actual harm is not necessarily needed.

What are the damages for a medical battery case?

Damage does not necessarily need to be severe in order for you to have a claim against the defendant. For example, a patient who is not injured may still have a claim against the medical provider for medical battery. Harmful touching does not necessarily need to cause any type of injury under medical battery.

The different damages you could receive in the medical battery include:

  • Economic damages: this includes damages that could be easily calculated such as medical bills, lost wages, lost future wages.
  • Non-economic damages: this type of damage is most common when the plaintiff has not endured many injuries from a medical battery. This includes emotional distress, depression, PTSD, etc.

How much does a medical battery attorney cost?

Several attorneys work at an hourly rate, meaning that an attorney will bill you every single hour or they have worked and you have to pay for them upfront. Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will only have to pay us when and if we receive compensation for you through a judgment or a settlement. We understand that many may not have funding to obtain an attorney and pay for them upfront. For more information regarding our contingency-fee attorneys, contact us today.

Contact Our California and Nevada Medical Battery Lawyers Today

Medical battery involves several different types of elements that need to be proven in order to have a strong case. That is why it is very important to hire an experienced medical battery attorney to pursue your claims for you to make sure you received the maximum compensation for your injuries. We understand that a medical battery can leave you with severe physical injuries, along with the emotional distress you may feel after enduring such trauma.

We want you to know that you are not alone. You do not have to pursue these claims on your own. Our attorneys are here and on standby via phone, email, or in-person for you. During our free no-risk consultation, we will discuss whether you have a valid medical battery claim against a medical professional. Contact our California medical battery lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation.

***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.