You sought help from your doctors; they let you down. Your health is too high a price to pay for their mistakes. Here’s how to start a medical negligence claim.
Medical error is the third leading cause for death in the US, following closely behind heart disease and cancer.
A medical negligence claim can be filed when a medical professional violates the standard of care. Medical professionals are required to provide a certain level of care to patients, or they open themselves up to lawsuits.
The level of care required depends on the practice areas and the expectations of a doctor practicing in that field.
With thousands of death related to malpractice each year, there are surprisingly few claims.
Many people that experience loss at the hands of a medical professional but don’t know what steps to take next when they want to seek compensation.
Continue reading through this article to learn exactly how to get started with your claim.
Starting Your Medical Negligence Claim
Most medical practices work hard to provide the best standard of care, but that isn’t always the case. As you’ll learn on news sites and attorney sites like this website, the trend of deaths due to medical malpractice is not decreasing.
Holding people in the medical profession accountable for their missteps and disregard for best practices will help others get better care in the future.
1. Contact the Medical Professional Involved
Before filing a medical malpractice case, speak to the medical professional in question. Your goal is to understand what happened and find out if there is a way to remedy the problem.
Depending on what happened, they may be willing to fix the problem free of charge, and there won’t be any need for moving forward with the lawsuit.
2. Contact the Medical Licensing Board
If you’ve contacted the medical professional and there isn’t any way to move forward without a lawsuit, you need to contact the relevant medical licensing board. Medical licensing boards govern medical licenses and should be informed when there is a problem.
The board won’t be able to demand compensation for you, but they can issue warnings and make recommendations on the best course of action.
3. Understand the Time Period You Have to File
Every civil claim has a time limit known as the statute of limitations. You must file your claim within that time period, or you will no longer be able to ask for compensation.
Each state has different limitations, so find out how long you have to file so you don’t miss your window. While it is likely a difficult and busy time, you need to think about financial challenges that will arise if you don’t get the compensation you deserve.
4. Undergo a Medical Assessment
Depending on your state, you may be required to file what is known as a certificate of merit. You get this certificate when they determine the injuries were caused by the medical professional’s negligence.
You normally will get this certificate through another physician. They will review your medical records so they can either give you a certificate of validity or deny that your claim is valid.
Once you have your certificate, your attorney will file the certificate of merit to confirm you spoke with a medical expert and your case has merit.
5. Consider an Out of Court Settlement
Going to court can take years and may require painful testimony. The expenses, loss of time at work and other challenges long court cases cause should be avoided as much as possible.
The other party is likely to want to avoid a long trial so have your attorney ask about settling out of court. It is likely that negotiations will take place, but if the attorney for the physician believes you have a good case, they will tell their client to make a deal.
If you think you will get more money if you go to court, this may be true, or they might throw your claim out altogether. Medical malpractice insurance companies reject many claims, and if that is the case, you do not receive a settlement at all. On the other hand, if you and your attorney believe your case is strong, you may be able to go to court and get a bigger settlement.
Why You Should Consider Retaining a Medical Malpractice Attorney
You may be thinking you want to take your case on by yourself. You have a basic understanding of the law and want to keep as much of your settlement money as you can.
While you might know you have rights and a case, there are always complicated processes, legal jargon, and twists in the case that might require legal help. Dealing with insurance companies can be a daunting process full of paperwork and continuous hoops to jump through.
I’m sure you’ve read legal documents in the past and know how frustrating they can be to understand. The constant stream of paperwork that you will need to review but also prepared and responded to can feel like a full-time job. Since attorneys know the language, it is easy for them to get through the paperwork on time without making errors.
Attorneys are also more likely to know the value of a claim. Since they have seen many different cases and worked with them closely, they can spot red flags and assign dollar values to them.
Having an attorney on your team will spare you the expense of time, speed up the process. You will be able to tap into resources that you might not even know about.
Having someone that knows what they are doing by your side throughout the process will help you keep going after what is rightfully yours. When things get confusing, you will have someone to help you.
Learn More About Topics That Matter to You
Learning about different topics such as filing a medical negligence claim isn’t only entertaining, but it allows you to develop new perspectives. You will also be able to make more informed decisions.
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