Falling victim to medical malpractice can be an incredibly stressful and traumatizing experience. Medical malpractice cases can vary in severity—ranging from simple misdiagnoses that can be easily fixed to a negligent decision during surgery that can lead to wrongful death. Whatever the extent of your specific case, experiencing negligence on behalf of a health care professional should never be taken lightly. If you believe yourself or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, it’s essential to follow the proper steps in order to ensure the case is handled as efficiently as possible.
Collect your medical records.
The first thing you should do if you suspect medical malpractice is collect all of your medical records from the healthcare provider whom you believe to be negligent. Having these records is essential throughout a medical malpractice case, as they serve as a way for you to receive opinions from other medical professionals and to help an attorney determine whether you have a feasible case. Your medical records can consist of anything that may be able to demonstrate your doctor’s medical negligence—this may include written diagnoses, annual visits, treatment plans, x-rays, surgical records, and more. Given the wide range of medical malpractice issues, these records can vary greatly.
Seek a second medical opinion.
In order to determine for certain whether your physician is at fault, it’s necessary to receive additional medical opinions. A new health care provider will analyze the patient’s medical history in order to determine the medical error that has been made and the extent to which that medical mistake has caused physical or emotional distress to the victim of medical negligence. While seeking medical care from a new medical professional is a key part of beginning a medical malpractice case, it’s also essential for the victim to begin to recover from the negligent act. If a medical error such as misdiagnosis is left untreated for too long, it can ultimately result in a serious injury that could have easily been taken care of early on. Seeking additional medical care should be the first thing you do should you suspect medical malpractice on behalf of your health care provider.
Consult your insurance company.
Since your insurance company typically covers some or all of your medical bills, it’s important to inform them of your potential medical malpractice case. Medical expenses are one of the main issues in question during medical negligence cases, as medical malpractice attorneys seek to receive full compensation in both compensatory and punitive damages for the plaintiff. Some insurance companies may also provide an attorney for clients that bring negligence claims, so it’s important to understand the extent of your insurance coverage.
Retain legal counsel.
Obtaining legal representation is essential in order to take legal action against medical providers in a medical malpractice claim. Many medical malpractice attorneys provide potential plaintiffs with a free consultation to assess the validity of their malpractice claims. This is when medical records are necessary, as these records allow the attorney to determine whether it may be a difficult case and they can provide adequate legal advice to the victim. One of the first things that an attorney will determine during a free consultation is whether the medical malpractice at issue has occurred within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations may vary depending on where in the United States the case is being brought; however, it’s important to understand that if a case is not brought within the statute of limitations—which is typically a two year period from when the result of a medical error is first noticed—the victim will not be able to take any legal action whatsoever.
Once you’ve retained an attorney to handle your medical malpractice lawsuit, you’ll need to assist your medical malpractice lawyer with the discovery process, which typically includes gathering every relevant piece of information within a patient’s medical history. Medical records allow medical malpractice attorneys to determine whether the medical or surgical error was in fact the result of negligence on behalf of the healthcare professional. In order to determine negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer must assess whether the four elements of negligence are present in the case. The first element is whether there was a duty owed to the plaintiff, the second element assesses whether this duty has been breached, the third element determines whether the plaintiff suffered an injury, and the final element is established if there is proof that the injury was the result of the breach of duty. In addition to assessing the elements of negligence, a malpractice attorney will also utilize a medical expert to evaluate the specific medical records and patient’s body to determine whether the injuries are consistent with the lack of standard of care provided by the negligent medical professional.
While a medical malpractice lawsuit can seem intimidating, an experienced medical malpractice attorney will be sure to guide you through the process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injury or wrongful death of a family member. Medical malpractice attorneys will ensure that your legal rights are respected, regardless of whether the case is a wrongful death, birth injury, surgical error, or another issue stemming from a medical procedure. The best lawyers will fight to ensure you receive a favorable verdict as well as compensation for everything from emergency room bills and insurance coverage to loss of consortium and non-economic damages.
While it may seem easy to neglect your own personal needs during a malpractice case, it’s important to prioritize self-care during this stressful time. Whether you decide to take advantage of free shipping on new arrivals of popular sneakers or other best sellers such as Levi’s original trucker jacket, a shopping experience is usually a good way to pamper yourself and distract yourself from the stress surrounding your lawsuit. For others, taking a day trip to the spa or reading a book in bed as opposed to online shopping is a better way to reduce stress. However, you decide to take care of yourself over the duration of your lawsuit, prioritizing self-care is crucial to prevent too much emotional distress before receiving the ultimate verdict.