Itís not easy being swept up in the aftermath of medical malpractice. Healthcare providers have great trust placed on them as they are expected to guide you during difficult times. But when that trust is repaid with negligence, the only one to deal with the consequences is you.
But suffering in silence shouldnít be your only recourse. Although filing a lawsuit can be an emotionally-challenging campaign, it sends a clear message. It warns all who neglect their duties that the faith given to them by patients is sacred, and the punishment for apathy will be severe.
By learning these steps, you are hopefully empowered with knowledge on what to do and the courage to speak up.
1. Find a Medical Malpractice Attorney Immediately
Finding a medical malpractice attorney should be the first thing on your list. While it is possible to try and handle all the paperwork yourself, the difference between you and an experienced lawyer can be like night and day.
Some of the things you are expected to do are filing paperwork, providing evidence, and consulting with experts in the medical field. While having all these in mind, you are also expected to comply within the allotted time given by the statute of limitations.
Lawyers specializing in this field are familiar with the different procedural steps and requirements needed to file a case. They can be relied on to amicably deal with opposing attorneys. They will also most likely have connections that make getting information smoother.
Itís important to note that medical malpractice cases are considered the hardest cases to win. They are time-consuming, expensive, and the settlement you receive may not always be a significant amount. But by hiring an attorney, the chances of success are greatly increased.
2. Gather Your Medical Records About The Incident
After finding a lawyer, the next step to take is getting your medical records related to the case. Medical records are crucial pieces of evidence as they are considered the most concrete and objective documents before the court. Should you assign your lawyer to handle these files, remember to include a signed waiver as these are necessary to address privacy laws.
Articles that can be considered as evidence can include:
- Medical Journals
- Care Plans
- Lab Results
- Medical Charts
Consulting with doctors and experts afterward is then made easier with the documents for reference. Your lawyer uses their expertise to reveal whether considerable malpractice has occurred. This is considered the turning point as this can determine whether or not you have a possible case. If the consensus is positive, you now have several expert witnesses to call in court. If not, your lawyer will advise that it is not in your best interest to pursue the case further.
3. Notify Insurance And Health Care Providers
Notifying health care providers and their related insurance companies will be the next step. Itís a mandatory procedure in most countries and allows them prior notice of a possible lawsuit.
This allows them the opportunity for their own investigation and internal review. A full-blown court battle is something nobody wants, so itís within the realm of possibility to be suddenly approved for insurance coverage or to the chance for both parties to settle out of court.
Having an attorney on your side can help you avoid any possible pitfalls at this stage of the process. Insurance companies are used to this type of procedure, so any perceived weakness is sure to be exploited. Thankfully, your lawyer will represent you and make sure you donít settle for anything less than you deserve.
4. File the Complaint
With everything in place, the final step is filing an official complaint. This means having an official document that lists every allegation against a health care provider along with the injuries and/or death that resulted from them. Completing this step will formally begin your lawsuit.
Lawyers can help you review case points, coordinate with expert witnesses, and cover any needed prerequisites. They are also your best guide as to understanding what the medical malpractice lawsuit timeline can look like and what to expect as you appear in court.
While itís normal to feel out of place when discussing serious topics like litigation, knowledge of your rights as a human being is an invaluable resource. It clears up any misinformation you may have previously been led to believe.
Knowing the steps to take will make the process clearer and help you focus your thoughts. This, partnered with a good medical malpractice lawyer, can be all the help you need.