Learn Your Rights: How To File a Medical Negligence Claim?
Medical negligence is a beast. It can pull you into untold sufferings, resulting in unwanted complications. Every so often, it can lead to death. However, don't allow your medical specialist to cut and run with medical negligence mistakes. As a patient, you have the right to take legal action against them. Remember, all medical practitioners are guided by law which means they discharge a certain level of care in all circumstances. They should correctly leverage their skills and experience to offer the best possible care.
So, if you're experiencing injuries resulting from medical negligence, you can sue your medical practitioner. And here's how you can do that.
Do I Have a Case for Medical Negligence?
If you, or someone you know, have suffered as a result of a medical professional's treatment or negligence, you may have a case for medical negligence. You could have a medical negligence case if you have been harmed or suffered as a result of:
- Surgical negligence: When a medical practitioner has performed the wrong surgery on a patient and has caused more harm.
- Medical misdiagnosis: When a medical practitioner fails to diagnose and identify a patient's symptoms or gives the wrong diagnosis and inaccurately diagnoses the symptoms.
- Prescription Mistake: When a medical practitioner as prescribed the wrong medication or supplied the wrong dosage
- Birth Injury: When medical practitioners have failed to recognize a severe condition, or if a mother and her infant have received inadequate care during childbirth, which has resulted in a birth injury.
Anyone who believes they've been injured as a result of negligent behaviour by a healthcare professional, medical misdiagnosis, or treatment may be entitled to claim compensation. If you think you have a valid medical malpractice case, then you should:
Talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney ASAP
There are specific types of injury-related cases that can be handled without professional assistance; however, the medical negligence claim isn't one of them.
Before anything else, you need to make sure that your medical negligence case is completed before the statute of limitations deadline has passed. Some states have more tolerant deadlines, which means they won't start the “clock” until the date when the malpractice case was discovered. Other states are more rigorous and choose to start the clock as soon as the malpractice is committed. Experienced malpractice or medical negligence lawyers will be familiar with the lawsuit process in your state and will do everything possible to comply with it.
What's more, depending on where your case will be filled, compliance with pre-lawsuit conditions (review boards, expert medical affidavits, notices of intent to file suit) will establish whether or not your medical negligence claim will be allowed to proceed.
A lawyer who routinely handles medical negligence cases will have the expertise, procedural know-how, and contacts to ensure your case is positioned for the best of success.
Request Copies of Your Medical Records
Medical records represent the gist of your medical negligence case. Because of the privacy laws, you will need to sign a release allowing your attorneys (as well as any defendants' lawyers) to obtain copies of these records.
Sending a copy of your medical record to your lawyers as soon as possible will allow them to start analysing the case in-depth and will also enable them to solicit specific medical opinions from doctors and other medical practitioners who may serve as medical expert witnesses in your case.
There's also a good chance that after a thorough review of your medical records, a solicitor will advise against filing a lawsuit or state that your damages may not be the result of a health care provider's medical negligence. The sooner they will review your medical records, the sooner you will be able to determine if your lawsuit has a good success prospect.
Contact Your Healthcare Providers and Insurance Company
No matter how you choose to do this, it's often helpful to notify a potential lawsuit to healthcare providers and insurance companies. In some states, this is a precondition to taking the matter to court, but in all cases, this type of notice will trigger internal review and insurance coverage, and you may find that you can receive a decent settlement before even filing a suit. However, the assistance of an attorney is invaluable as your attorney will act as a professional defence between you and claims specialists who may or not decide to intimidate you or take a hard line on your case.
While it's just a simple negotiation strategy, it does not make it any less unpleasant. When it comes down to negotiation, having a solicitor providing notice of your intent to file a suit is the best way to handle the situation.
Follow All Pre-Suit Requirements
As we've previously mentioned, many states have formalised pre-filing requirements for medical negligence cases. Another consequence of the tort reform movement, pre-suit requirements are meant to streamline litigation, promote settlement and help to simplify frivolous cases. Therefore, most pre-suit rules require some kind of expert support, either in the form of an affidavit of merit that pronounces the correct medical standard of care that was apparently violated and the injuries that resulted.
Not complying with pre-suit requirements can possibly dismiss your case, although you will normally get a chance to come into compliance before you lose the right to a legal remedy for good.
The final step in initiating a medical negligence case is the actual drafting and filing of your complaint in civil court. This will be your formal presentation of the allegation against the medical facility or medical practitioner. Once the complaint is filed, the medical negligence lawsuit begins in earnest.