Medical malpractice is defined as negligence on the part of medical professionals, which results in injury or death to an unsuspecting patient. A patient should always ask themselves if their doctor made a mistake during their procedure that could have killed them, did the doctor fail to diagnose them with cancer, did the hospital make an error while transporting them after surgery?
If they answer yes to any one of these questions, medical malpractice may be at work here. The only way for someone who suspects medical malpractice can occur is by doing research and finding out where best to turn for help.
Find a lawyer specializing in medical malpractice
Once a person has realized that medical malpractice may have occurred during their time in the hospital, it is important to turn to an experienced lawyer. The first question many people think of asking is “how much will it cost?” The answer? It depends on how complicated your case is (if there are any conflicting opinions).
Most hospitals generally want to settle out of court; however, if the hospital cannot handle your case due to lack of information or investigations, they will be forced into court proceedings. This is where experience and expertise become vital, according to legal professionals at Shrager & Sachs law firm.
If a lawyer has been practicing for at least 20 years, they have most likely seen every type of medical malpractice case there is at least once in their career. Someone looking for advice on how to handle a medical malpractice case should find a lawyer who specializes in this field and has a successful track record under their belt of winning cases just like yours.
Be thorough with your research
It is important to remember that people are not always right; however, sometimes they are. If someone suspects medical malpractice occurred during their time in the hospital, there is always some sort of evidence that can be found.
This means looking at previous medical records, doing physical examinations, and even bringing in outside doctors who specialize in the type of injury sustained by the patient (if necessary). The first step toward winning your legal battle is having sound evidence to back you up.
Keep medical records and documentation
Documentation is key for several reasons. Documentation helps to substantiate any claim that the patient may have against the doctor or other party who wronged them. It can also help with billing, keeping current records of tests and procedures, providing an audit trail in case there are future questions about how certain injuries occurred, and offering valuable input into determining your damages (i.e., medical expenses, loss of income, pain, and suffering).
Documenting misconduct does not mean you have to be confrontational on the spot. However, you should write down descriptions of what happened as soon as possible after it happens so that your account of facts is fresh in your mind.
When speaking with insurance representatives
Be clear on exactly what happened during an instance of misconduct. Many times, insurance companies will send representatives out to the claimant’s home or place of business to gather facts. It is important that you are specific, concise, and clear about what happened, where it happened, who was present if anyone was present, how it happened, etc.
You should also ask for contact information so that you can reach them later with any questions or concerns you may have if they miss anything during their visit.
At all costs, avoid saying anything negative about your health care provider
Talking negatively about a doctor to an insurance company rep is the quickest way to get excluded from coverage for any potential future medical treatment necessary as a result of injuries sustained at their facility. If anything negative has been said by the patient, the insurance company may try to use that as an excuse not to cover the issue.
A medical malpractice suit is similar to any other type of personal injury suit
The difference between a medical malpractice suit and many other types of personal injury suits is that in most cases, there are specific time constraints for how long claims can be made against professionals who have acted negligently or improperly within their respective fields.
Medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within 2 years from the date of injury, but sometimes it’s possible to obtain extensions, depending upon the facts surrounding each individual case. It’s also possible to sue multiple parties if more than one party was negligent in causing an injury (i.e., if both a doctor and a hospital were negligent in the manner in which a patient was treated).
Do not give any recorded statements to your insurance company without speaking with a personal injury attorney first
It is important that you do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including insurance representatives. Giving a recorded statement before speaking with an attorney can potentially hurt your case if there are inaccuracies or inconsistencies in what is said and written down.
Also, giving a recorded statement without consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer means you will have no one advocating for your best interests from now on from start to finish – insurance companies only care about their bottom line and getting as many people as possible to sign up for as much coverage as they possibly can by offering low premiums and lots of freebies. They are not on your side.
Compare notes with other people who have had similar experiences at the same hospital or practice
There are plenty of resources available online where you can post complaints about your treatment by a medical provider, facility, hospital, etc. This is an excellent way to get in contact with others who have also been wronged by the same party or parties – patients usually band together when they find out that there are other individuals experiencing the same issues after receiving treatment from the same provider.
This may be helpful if you decide to proceed with filing a formal complaint with an outside agency (i.e., State Department of Health) while also pursuing legal action against parties that caused your injuries. Some examples of places to post reviews and/or complaints about medical providers include:
- The Joint Commission (TJC)
- Patient Opinion
- Patients Review
- Medical Justice
- Hospital Compare
It’s very important that citizens take the time to research and review their medical providers/facilities. Doing so can save one a lot of trouble and heartache in the future and hopefully prevent them from becoming a victim of medical malpractice (which can be devastating).
Also, gathering knowledge about what to do in a worst-case scenario such as medical malpractice can help you take appropriate courses of action. If anyone suspects medical malpractice has occurred during their visit to a doctor, they must first do research to find out where best to turn for help from qualified and trusted attorneys who specialize in this specific area of law.