The quality of healthcare in the United States is notoriously low. Sadly, stories of medical malpractice are far too prevalent. According to the National Academy of Medicine, medical errors were responsible for 98,000 deaths in a single year.
Medical malpractice is a personal injury claim involving injury, usually to the patient, due to medical negligence. Medical malpractice occurs when a professional, such as a physician, nurse, or another care provider, fails to follow accepted standards of practice in providing healthcare services. The harm caused by the negligence can include physical injuries (such as fractured bones or surgical wounds that become infected), mental trauma (such as post-traumatic stress disorder), and emotional distress (by causing grief or interfering with daily living). As a result of this negligence, many people are left in financial ruin when they have to pay out of pocket for expensive and necessary treatments.
Have you or anyone you know experienced medical malpractice? Are you looking for information on how to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice? Read on to learn more about how to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Many law firms offer a free consultation to review cases. You can share all important medical records to see if your case is strong enough. For example, if your child suffered a birth injury that caused the development of a condition called Erb’s palsy, you should meet up with an attorney or a firm that specializes in Erbs palsy lawsuit to make sure your case is strong.
You must be able to prove that the doctor or other health care provider committed a medical mistake that directly caused your injury or death. You should also be able to show that the mistake was not just a lack of skill or care on their part but a serious error that could have been avoided if they had followed proper procedures. Some of the common medical malpractices include:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
- Wrong treatment
- Prescription errors
- Surgical errors
- Childbirth injuries
- Improper care
Your attorney will go through all your evidence and deduce the strength of your case. If so, they will formally begin the procedure of filing a lawsuit.
Understanding statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is an imperative factor to consider before filing a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in all states is different but, in general, is between 1-3 years from the date of injury. If you were injured by a doctor or hospital due to malpractice and need to file a lawsuit, it is crucial to know how long you have to file your case. If you wait too long to file your medical malpractice claim, the judge may dismiss your case because it is past the deadline set by law.
Sometimes it’s not clear when exactly a person was injured by the negligence of a healthcare official. This is where your attorney will help you in determining all this information. This is why it is beneficial to work with a lawyer who has prior experience dealing with such cases. They’ll skim through the provided evidence and find out if you are eligible to file a claim or not.
It is time to dig deeper! Once your attorney gives you the go-ahead, it’s time to begin the process officially. Your attorney will now gather all of the evidence that supports your claim. This includes medical bills, reports, scans, and other documents that show how the doctor failed to provide adequate care. It also includes witnesses present when the incident occurred and can testify about what happened. These witnesses may also include healthcare professionals that can testify about medical malpractice.
Hiring an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice has many benefits. Some of these are:
- They have a deep understanding of medical jurisprudence, and they have prior experience fighting similar cases as yours
- They know how to go through medical records to discover negligence
- They are in contact with health professionals who can give insights into the case and help prove negligence
- They can determine the case value – an estimate of the combined cost of treatment, therapy, etc., that you’d need for the rest of your life.
All you have to do is collect everything you can find and hand it over to your attorney – they’ll handle the rest!
Filing the lawsuit
The next step is to officially file the lawsuit. Your lawyer will submit the evidence that shows how the doctor’s negligence caused your injuries. The negligent party will receive a notice of this lawsuit, and they will then have an opportunity to respond.
This will begin the discovery phase, where both parties would start working on finding more evidence to support their side or disprove the claims made by their opponent(s).
Settlement or Trial
The discovery phase is the deciding factor whether the case will be settled by mediation or will go to court for trial. Usually, medical malpractice cases are settled out of court to avoid a bad reputation of the hospital or revocation of the license of the healthcare official. The attorneys meet and decide the settlement amount for the victim.
If the defendants refuse to accept their fault, the case will go to trial. The judge or jury will reach a verdict after hearing both sides. If the verdict comes in your favor, the compensation amount will be determined and paid.
Medical malpractice is a deliberate act by a health care professional that causes injury to a patient. The major purpose of filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice is to be compensated for the losses you sustained due to negligence. As a victim of medical malpractice, you will likely be emotionally drained, and the thought of dealing with the legal aspect can add even more stress. But with the right professional legal help, you can get the compensation you deserve. So don’t give up!