The Steps in Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Case
Personal Injury Lawyer
Patients who have received less-than-up-to-par medical care and endured harm because of it, may want to pursue a medical malpractice case against the doctor or hospital for what happened. Victims of medical malpractice because of negligence may be entitled to financial compensation for the error. It is important that those considering taking this step, are aware of what is to come in the early stages so they can prepare accordingly. The first step most people take, is meeting with an attorney about whether they have a case at all.
What steps are involved as the medical malpractice case moves forward?
There are several steps that must be gone through one at a time to ensure a patient’s case is being handled diligently and with thorough attention. Depending on the state, there may be prerequisites that apply in order for the person to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Here is a general and overly simplified summary of these pre-lawsuit elements:
- The patient’s attorney must investigate the situation more in-depth to confirm that there is a reasonable belief that a medical professional was negligent, which then directly harmed the patient at a result.
- The patient’s attorney must then gather documents including medical records and review these for evidence.
- These records are to be sent to a similar medical professional for analysis.
- This medical professional or expert must then write that the claim has enough merit to proceed forward.
- The patient’s attorney must file an intent to initiate medical negligence litigation, along with the medical expert’s statement. This notice is to be sent to dependents and state agencies too, depending on the circumstances.
- During a 90-day period after submitting the notice, defendants and parties involved in the case must participate in the discovery step.
- From the investigation, the defendant may offer a settlement to the patient, agree to participate in arbitration, or deny the claim altogether.
How do I know whether I have a case for medical malpractice?
Patients who are concerned that their doctor made a mistake in their care, are encouraged to meet with a medical malpractice lawyer. It is important to note that just because a treatment had gone south doesn’t mean that it automatically constitutes as a medical malpractice claim. Some procedures simply come along with risks that a patient is informed of prior to it being performed. However, if a doctor made an error which led to a patient’s harm, then he or she could have the foundation for legal action. Examples of common medical malpractice cases include:
- Emergency room mistakes
- Birth injuries
- Failing to detect abnormalities in the fetus
- Intubation errors
- Misreading results for lab work, ultrasounds, x-rays, MRIs, etc.
- Gynecological or obstetrical mistakes
- Surgical errors
- Incorrect use of anesthesia
- Tools or other foreign objects being left in a patient’s body during surgery
- Failing to diagnose correctly a patient’s illness
- Failing to identify and address an emergency condition
- Prescription medication errors (in type of drug or dosage)