Podiatric malpractice may be an unfamiliar term for many, but for the thousands of Americans who find themselves a victim of podiatric malpractice, it is imperative to understand this legal concept. Foot pain is shockingly common, with the American Podiatric Medical Association reporting that about 77 percent of Americans have experienced foot pain, while a third of these sufferers have sought care by a podiatrist. Our New York City podiatric malpractice lawyers explain what exactly constitutes podiatric malpractice and what you should do if you believe you have suffered from podiatric malpractice below.
What is a Podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a doctor who focuses on and treats foot conditions. Instead of attending medical school and having an internship with a residency, one who wants to treat foot problems can go to a podiatry school and obtain the designation DPM. Some, but not all podiatrists, also go further and attend a residency in podiatry. The DPM designation means that the podiatrist has completed podiatry school but did not necessarily go for further training in a residency program. Similarly, some podiatrists go even further and obtain certification by one of the several specialty boards, but can usually only do so after they have been in practice and obtained experience treating foot problems or performing surgery.
What Constitutes Podiatric Malpractice?
Despite the many years of training completed by a podiatrist, podiatrists, like any doctor, sometimes make serious mistakes. Not every medical error made by a podiatrist will constitute malpractice; rather, the plaintiff will need to provide evidence of certain essential elements. First, the podiatrist needs to have owed you a professional duty. This is generally met by showing the podiatrist treated your foot-related problem.
Next, the podiatrist needs to have breached this duty. This is the most complex element and typically will involve the crux of the claim. Here, the court will consider whether the podiatrist met the standard of care in treating you. The plaintiffs will need a medical expert to testify as to the podiatrist’s failure to act as a reasonable physician in the field would.
Third, the plaintiff must show that their injury was caused by the podiatrist’s breach in care. Lastly, there needs to exist damages resulting from the breach. Damages will typically involve medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Common causes of podiatric malpractice cases include botched surgeries, lack of informed consent, performing unnecessary surgery, and poor aftercare. Anyone who believes their foot-related issues may have stemmed from the negligence of a podiatrist should consult with a podiatric malpractice lawyer.