If you’re thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit due to a hospital or physicians negligence, there’s a few things you should take into consideration first. Just because a medical professional or doctor made a mistake in your treatment, does not automatically mean you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. You or your attorney must be able to demonstrate that your injuries occurred as “a result of the doctor’s substandard care.” When a medical practitioner or institution fails to meet a reasonable standard of care for you or a loved one, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages. Knowing the basics of filing a medical malpractice claim can save you a lot of time and energy and money.
Contact the Medical Professional Involved
One of the first things you should do before you file a medical malpractice claim is contact the doctor or medical professional who you initially went to. The goal of this is to not only see if your health situation can be remedied, but to understand what may have gone wrong. In many cases, your medical provider will be willing to correct the problem or find a quick solution.
If reaching out to your medical professional doesn’t help, you can contact the medical licensing board about the situation. They won’t be able to compensate you, but they may offer guidance or be able to discipline the practitioner.
How Long Do You have to File a Malpractice Suit in Pennsylvania?
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim varies from state-to-state. In Pennsylvania, the general rule is that the injured patient has two years of the date on which the injury was discovered. This means that the “clock” for this two-year time period doesn’t start until the plaintiff actually knows that they suffered an injury that was caused by the defendant’s medical negligence.
What is a Certificate of Merit?
Pennsylvania law requires you have a “certificate of merit” before you file a medical malpractice claim. To file a certificate of merit you usually have to contact a physician. A physician will be able to review your records and identify exactly where the original healthcare provider was negligent. Once you hire a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney, they will be able to file your certificate of merit for you.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a plaintiff must file a certificate of merit that states that either:
- An appropriate licensed professional has supplied a written statement that there exists a reasonable probability that the care, skill or knowledge exercised or exhibited in the treatment, practice or work that is the subject of the complaint, fell outside acceptable professional standards and that such conduct was a cause in bringing about the harm
- The claim that the defendant deviated from an acceptable professional standard is based solely on allegations that other licensed professionals for whom this defendant is responsible deviated from an acceptable professional standard, or
- Expert testimony of an appropriate licensed professional is unnecessary for prosecution of the claim.
Consider Settling Out of Court
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be considerably costly and time consuming. Many medical malpractice insurance companies reject a significant amount of med mal claims, so it might be easier to settle your case outside of court. However, if you believe you have a strong case it’s possible you can fight for a large settlement.
It’s recommended that you inform the appropriate insurance companies or facilities about a potential suit. This well expedite an internal review within the facility and might even help you reach a fair settlement.
Get an Attorney By Your Side
Having a qualified attorney by your side can make all the difference when battling a medical malpractice case. An experienced lawyer will be able to review your case and establish the right steps as you move forward with filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.