If you have suffered from a specific injury and had a bad experience with a doctor, your frustration is completely understandable. After all, that is literally insult added to injury. When you entrust the treatment to another person of questionable expertise, your first assumption is that the person certainly knows what he/she is doing. However, in the cases of extremely bad luck, unfortunately, this is not always the case.
What is even more shocking is the fact that a lot of people don’t even bother to seek out justice. There could be many reasons for this like the fact that they may not even be aware of the fact that they were victims of malpractice. Or they could be unaware of what malpractice is and what is the legal process to sue a doctor for medical malpractice. Having said that, you owe it to yourself to be as educated as possible since you have every right to pursue a claim in a court of law if you have been wrongly treated.
Medical negligence mainly means either of the two instances – firstly, when actual harm was caused to the patient either due to negligence or on purpose and secondly when the doctor falls way below the basic standard of care that is expected from them. If you have been a victim, the first thing to remember is not to delay the process in any way. Contact a lawyer at the very earliest since most of these cases in a court of law do end up taking a considerable amount of time on the whole.
On that very note, here are the main ways in which one should go about the entire process:-
- Be sure to check your state’s statute of limitations: Different states have their own specific deadlines for filing medical malpractice lawsuits. This can be quite complex to deal with at first since many states have a multi-part statute of limitations. This includes a standard deadline (plus a deadline for minors), the “discovery rule” exception and an absolute limit. Depending on the lawyer and the case of the individual, this process could take just the right amount of time or even longer in some cases. Sometimes, it is completed well before the estimated time period.
- Make sure that you have a good picture of the overall story in your mind: This cannot be stressed enough. Having a half-baked picture and a hazy memory of what happened is certainly not going to help you out in any way. Plus the story should be to-the-point and convincing across the board. The lawyer may not consider working with you at all if he feels that your story is not believable or does not fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice.
- A medical expert is just as important as a medical malpractice lawyer: A lot of people tend to forget that in this case, hiring a professional medical malpractice lawyer itself is not enough. The lawyer will not have the required expertise about the injury you suffered or anything related to it and expecting that from him would be quite foolhardy on your part. The medical expert will be the main one to banish any doubts about the authenticity of your malpractice claims once and for all.
- Get a lawyer who is used to dealing with complex medical issue cases: Even though this pretty much goes without saying, one cannot settle for any kind of lawyer out there. A certain level of professionalism and expertise is required which is a cut above the rest. This is certainly not something that you can afford to take lightly. There are not just complex legal issues, but complex medical issues that are involved as well. Ultimately, medical malpractice cases can be about any system or organ in the body. Hence, you owe it to yourself to hire the best and most professional lawyer in the medical circuit.
Finally, be extremely careful not to make the mistake of thinking that this is no different from the standard personal injury lawsuit. While that might appear to be the case on the surface, once you dig deeper, you will see that it is not. A thorough level of attention to all the details of the case is exactly what sets this procedure apart from other types of personal injury lawsuits. First of all, a different statute of limitations is required in such cases.
Furthermore, the need of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer plus a medical expert witness is paramount and taking care of both aspects in a timely manner is no mean feat. And if the entire testification process was not enough, you will also need your medical expert to write out a report detailing all aspects in which the defendant doctor was careless and negligent. This is called an “Offer Of Proof” or a “Certificate Of Merit” which proves that the case is arguably a thorough and legitimate medical malpractice case.
This has to happen to ensure the final start of the investigation process. Keeping all of this in mind at all times is imperative if you are looking to win the case in the long run.