Groups » Five Important Steps to Remember if You’ve Faced Medical Malpractice

Despite working with utmost care and diligence, medical practitioners can go wrong when diagnosing an illness or treating a patient. Medical malpractices are unfortunate for both the consulting medical professional and the patient, as they can cause further harm to an ailing person. As a patient, if you feel that your medical professional was negligent in his or her duty of care, a case of medical malpractice can be filed.

In the United States, medical malpractice is a part of personal injury law under the federal and state laws. Medical errors are serious problems regardless of patient's’ life expectancy, and are a major concern throughout the country. The severity of each case makes it unique in itself and one should not ignore the plausible consequences of medical malpractice.

Here are the important steps that you can follow in case you have been a victim of medical malpractice.

1. Talk with the Concerned Medical Professional

Often, harm caused by negligence on the medical professional’s part can go unnoticed. If you feel that you have been wronged by the medical practitioner, then it is better to first discuss your concerns with him/her. This step will help you get an understanding of what may have gone wrong during your treatment. The doctor can also help you determine whether or not the harm caused due to substandard care can be remedied.

Healthcare providers often inform their patients about the negligence in the medical care provided to them in an effort to rectify their mistake(s). This way, they can work out a plan to mitigate the harm done.

2. Inform the Medical Licensing Board

A medical malpractice lawsuit brought against a medical professional will definitely tarnish his/her reputation and gravely impact his/her career. In order to avoid these adverse effects, the professional at fault may deny your medical negligence claim.

You can then approach the state medical board that gives medical licenses to healthcare practitioners. The board cannot officially authorize a compensatory amount for your malpractice claim, but can issue warnings to the concerned professional. Based on the severity of the harm caused to you, the representative of the medical board can even advise you on the way forward.

3. Look for Second Opinion

The medical board may advise you to take a second opinion on your case. Even if it does not, you should still consult another doctor for his/her diagnosis.

Ask a trusted physician to review your medical records, so that he/she can determine if you have faced injuries during your treatment, and if they are because of unacceptable standards of medical care provided by the original healthcare provider.

After verification, the trusted doctor will issue a certificate of merit that can be presented to the court if you plan to file a lawsuit against the professional at fault.

4. Seek Legal Representation

Fighting medical negligence lawsuits requires extensive research and legal expertise in the field of personal injury. You may not be able to handle the legal procedures involved in the lawsuit by yourself. It will be best to consult a veteran lawyer in your state to represent you.

A renowned personal injury lawyer in the country has rightly said, “You should not ignore even a minor case of medical negligence, whether the issue is a failure to diagnose cancer, surgical error, errors resulting in birth injury, or any other variety of medical malpractice.”

On receiving the certificate of merit from a physician, your attorney can use it in court to establish the credibility of your claim and convince the judge or jury with evidence that proves that the physician in question was indeed negligent.

Medical malpractice cases can go on for a long period of time, and your attorney may suggest that you opt for an out-of-court settlement. Discuss a tentative compensatory amount to be availed from the physician with your attorney that will justify the harm done to you, and let him/her negotiate with the healthcare practitioner. Sometimes, it is advisable to take this route, as fighting a medical malpractice case against an insurance company in court can lead to a less satisfactory judgment.

5. Follow Statute of Limitation

In case you file a lawsuit against the physician, you should do so within the period of statute of limitation, which is a legally prescribed period for people to file a case in court, and may vary in different states.

Speak to your attorney about the state laws that apply to your case. The time period to file the case may be counted from the date you were injured. In a few states, it may not begin until the person becomes aware of the injury. Once the time limit lapses, you may lose the chance of receiving compensation for the harm/injury caused to you by the healthcare professional.

Leading a healthy and illness-free life is of utmost importance to everyone. We trust medical practitioners with our lives and believe that they can cure our ailments. However, there can be situations where we are harmed by their negligence. Hiring an attorney can help us handle such tricky situations, avail justice, and receive fair compensation in the best legal manner.

About the Author

Roger Davis is a freelance content writer who has years of experience in providing unique and high-quality content for the law industry. He has been writing for Gladstein Law Firm, based in Louisville. They have decades of experience in handling personal injury, car accident, and medical malpractice cases.

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