What You Need to Know before Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

What you Need to Know Before Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
What You Need to Know before Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
January 14th, 2021

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical practitioner goes against the standard of care expected of them with regards to their patient. It can result in severely harming the patient, whether due to their negligence or omission.

The claim is considered a case of negligence only if the following criteria are met:

  • The standard of care acknowledged by law is violated.
  • The harm or injury is caused due to the negligence of the medical practitioner.
  • The damage done is significant.

Some of the common instances of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Misreading a report
  • Carrying out an unnecessary surgery
  • Poor aftercare
  • Disregarding patient history
  • Failure in recognizing symptoms
  • Ordering the wrong tests
  • Discharging the patient earlier than necessary
  • Carrying out surgery in the wrong area
  • Prescribing the wrong medication

In any of these cases, the patient can file a case of medical practice against the practitioner treating them.

Steps to Follow before Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Here are some basic steps you need to follow before you file a medical malpractice claim:

Get in Touch with the Doctor before Filing the Claim

Before you decide to file a claim, it is advised that you get in touch with your doctor to determine what went wrong. This is to ascertain if a mistake was made in providing the right treatment. In most cases, the medical practitioner treating you will help determine what could have gone wrong and help rectify the problem (often without charging you a fee).

Find Out How Soon You Need to File the Claim

Filing a claim has a time limit that you need to keep in mind. Any claim being filed needs to be done within this legally stipulated time period called the statute of limitations. Make sure you find out the statute of limitations within your state to file the claim in time. Any claim filed after this will be dismissed.

Confirm with Another Doctor Whether It Is a Case of Malpractice

Filing a medical malpractice claim requires a certificate of merit in certain states. The certificate of merit is proof the plaintiff needs to present to validate their medical malpractice claim against the doctor or a hospital. For this, you will need to get in touch with an expert, ideally another physician, who can review the records and certify whether the original medical professional is at fault. You can then file the certificate of merit, which confirms that another professional has been consulted and that the action you are taking has merit.

Try to Settle the Case without a Trial

Any case taken to a trial can prove costly and time-consuming. Further, the chances of the claim being rejected in a medical malpractice claim are high because the medical treatments are subjective. Therefore, it is advised that you settle the case out of court through mediation or negotiations. However, you can proceed with a lawsuit if you know you have a strong case and deserve a higher settlement than what is being offered.

The Challenges Faced in a Medical Malpractice Claim

Winning a medical malpractice case is not easy. While there have been many instances where the plaintiff has been compensated with a large settlement, these are very few compared to the cases that doctors have won.

Some of the most common challenges faced while filing a medical malpractice claim include:

Convincing the Judge and Jury about the Negligence

Proving the doctor’s negligence requires evidence, which is often difficult to acquire. With only the doctor’s notes to rely on, identifying what went wrong would require expert intervention. To convince the jury about the health care provider’s negligence, you or your lawyer may have to interact with medical experts who can review the course of treatment and figure out how the doctor proceeded with the treatment and what should have been done instead.

Convincing the judge and jury will require a great deal of effort on the part of your lawyer.

Proving That There Was Negligence on the Part of the Doctor

Victim of Medical Malpractice Due to Doctor Negligence

Medicine is a difficult practice and is often subjective, meaning that what may work for one may not always work for another. This is a crucial reason why doctors win most cases of medical malpractice that have gone to trial. Unless the mistake is very evident, the judges and jury may not see it as negligence. To prove that there was negligence, you will need expert witnesses from the medical field who can explain what the doctor did wrong while treating you.

Have you been a victim of medical malpractice? Filing a claim and getting your settlement may take a great amount of effort, better accomplished with an expert in tow. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer can help you analyze your case in detail and strategize the best course of action. Whether it is getting the case settled out of court or convincing the jury of the medical practitioner’s negligence, an experienced medical malpractice attorney will also have the right professional contacts in the medical field.

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