You’ve recently gone to the doctor and are now experiencing pain and/or discomfort as a result of a procedure.
Medical malpractice cases result out of negligence performed by a medical professional. From nurses, doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and additional professionals in the healthcare industry can be held responsible.
Medical malpractice and negligence cases are wide ranging and can result from several different variables. Below are six helpful tips for navigating medical malpractice cases and lawsuits.
1. Research If Your Case Constitutes Medical Malpractice
Is a medical misdiagnosis considered medical malpractice? Per law.com malpractice is defined as “An act or continuing conduct of a professional which does not meet the standard of professional competence and results in provable damages to his/her client or patient. Such an error or omission may be through negligence, ignorance (when the professional should have known), or intentional wrongdoing. However, malpractice does not include the exercise of professional judgment even when the results are detrimental to the client or patient”.
The malpractice definition is quite extensive and outlines certain limitations to what can be considered negligence or malpractice. If the courts or other medical professionals determine that a reasonable medical professional would have diagnosed the case differently, or if it does not meet the normal standard of care, a medical malpractice suit may exist. If you believe that your care did not meet the normal or general standard of care, do some additional digging to identify the “norm” in cases like yours.
2. Understand the Statute of Limitations in Your State
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases and medical malpractice cases varies from state to state. Check the statute of limitations in your state. If the time limit has passed then a malpractice suit can generally not be filed or will be dismissed, although there are some exceptions. Consult with a medical malpractice attorney to verify the circumstances of your unique case.
3. Consult with a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice cases are difficult to navigate for the layperson. As a result it’s best to consult with, or hire an attorney, that specializes in medical malpractice suits. Since different legal professionals have different focuses and practice areas, ensure that your lawyer has extensive knowledge and experience in the medical malpractice field.
A Medical malpractice attorney is one of the most important resources and these legal professionals can consult and provide input on the unique circumstances of your medical malpractice suit.
4. Compile All Pertinent Medical Records
Get all medical records that pertain to your condition before and after the procedure in question caused pain, suffering or disability. If you had a clean bill of health prior to the procedure in question, and have since been in discomfort or disabled, then these records need to be taken into account.
In most cases a medical malpractice attorney can help collate the pertinent medical records. Due to HIPAA requirements, certain entities and institutions may refuse dissemination of medical records to those not authorized to view them. If this is the case, a HIPAA waiver will be required to release this sensitive information to the required parties.
5. Document What Has Changed Since Malpractice Occurred
Were you able to walk before a procedure on your leg and now require mobility assistance? Have you lost the ability to do a previous hobby as a result of a health professional’s negligence or malpractice? If so then before and after medical records need to be observed.
After the event occurred, document any symptoms and issues along with dates and as much information as possible. This can include:
- Types of symptoms
- Physical changes or limitations
- Pain levels (on a scale of 1-10)
- Nightmares and stress levels
- How this has impacted your everyday life
6. See If You Can Settle Outside of Court
Settling out of court is an easier, less expensive option compared to going to litigation. If the facts of your case clearly outline that medical negligence or malpractice existed, then this might be an option for all parties. Litigation and the associated costs of going to court can be incredibly expensive, time consuming and stressful. Avoiding the courts and working out a settlement can be beneficial to the parties involved.