Medical malpractice is a difficult subject to broach but it can be a necessary conversation to have if you feel like something isn’t right. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 80% of adults and 95% of children have contact with a health care professional annually.
Hospital visits run in the hundreds of millions and doctor visits numbered closer to a billion. Those are staggering numbers and although the clear majority of these visits go smoothly, there are 10% of all deaths that occur every year in the US that are due to medical errors. Follow these 5 steps if you suspect medical malpractice.
1. Find Another Healthcare Professional
The first step, and the most important step, if you suspect medical malpractice is to find another healthcare provider. Your health and wellness must be at the forefront of your mind. Regardless of whether your suspicions are true, you need to find a new healthcare provider through your health insurance company that you are comfortable with and has your best interests at heart. If your suspicions are true though, the new doctor can take the necessary steps towards reversing any damage done by the previous doctor’s diagnosis.
2. Get Copies of Your Medical Records
Your medical records are necessary to provide valuable evidence in your medical malpractice case. You are legally entitled to request your medical records which may include the results of any tests that were done, a list of any medication you were prescribed and when as well as any surgical procedures that have been done.
These records will be about the only way you can prove that you were diagnosed or that your doctor failed to take your medical history into account before prescribing a medication.
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3. Get Legal Assistance
Your next step needs to be that you consider specialist lawyers to assist with your malpractice case. These kinds of lawsuits are highly complex most of the time so you do need to hire an experienced and qualified lawyer instead of trying to handle it on your own. Make sure you have all the evidence with you when you schedule your first appointment, the lawyer will be able to advise you on whether you have a valid case based on the documentation you can provide.
4. Document Your Experience
If you think you are a victim of medical malpractice, you need to document your entire experience from start to finish. Make notes on your health, describe your symptoms in detail and document what treatment you got because of them. Include all time you’ve had to take off work and any other aspect that has had an impact on your life.
5. Don’t Sign Anything
Never sign anything without your lawyer first seeing it. You must do your best to avoid contacting any of the other involved parties, do not make any threats about your malpractice claim and never post anything about your case on social media. If the defendant’s insurance company tries to contact you to get you to sign anything you need to ask them to get in touch with your legal representation instead.