Are you a victim of medical malpractice? Did you visit your doctor for medical services and found yourself suffering from their mistake or that of their staff? How do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Medical mistakes are, unfortunately, a regular occurrence. Although there are times when the error does not lead to serious harm but when it does, the consequences are typically devastating for the person who was harmed and their family. But are you wondering, how do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
There are several emotional considerations you need to consider before deciding to file a medical malpractice action. The steps of filing a case are critically important and relatively straightforward. What follows are all the steps you need to take if you find yourself needing legal services due to medical malpractice.
How do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Step one:
Find the Right Attorney
The first step is to hire a medical malpractice lawyer. It isn’t simply a matter of hiring a licensed lawyer who can practice in your state, but medical malpractice requires specific knowledge of what medical experts to retain, what facts to gather, and how to build a compelling case strategy.
It is critical to hire legal services who fight for the client’s rights while ensuring that those involved have the information required to be comfortable with the proceedings. Your legal firm needs to understand the suffering of the victim and the family before bringing suit against the healthcare professional who made the serious mistake.
How do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Step Two:
Following the devastation that comes with a serious medical mistake, the injured parties often need time to react to their new reality. But time passes far more quickly than most people realize. Each state has a statute of limitations that restricts the time in which a medical malpractice action must be initiated.
When this time has lapsed, it is impossible to get legal help, no matter how grievous the harm. Because of the amount of preparation needed for filing a medical malpractice case, lawyers need adequate time to do all the groundwork necessary to ensure a successful case.
That would include finding a legal expert who can testify to the medical professional’s neglect or failure to follow reasonable care standards for the specific circumstances.
How do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Step Three:
Obtain All Records and Other Pertinent Documents
The collection of evidence is one of the most crucial steps in a medical malpractice suit. The person who was injured or harmed by the malpractice will have the simplest time securing the records from the medical professional and facility involved in the action.
It is critical to request these documents as soon as possible to provide the attorney enough time to analyze the records to determine the best strategy. It will be necessary to sign a release to enable the medical malpractice attorney to follow up with additional documents. If the victim of the malpractice was harmed to the extent that he or she cannot obtain the records, a skilled attorney would take the release form and get the documents on behalf of their client.
How do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Step Four
Provide Notice To All Associated Parties
Although it may not be entirely necessary, it is advisable to notify the medical professional, facility, and insurance providers about the potential malpractice suit. In most cases, this notification will trigger an investigation into the facts of the malpractice claim.
It may lead to a productive settlement negotiation, where the victim and his or her family can obtain the compensation they require to pay bills, receive proper medical care, and make necessary changes to their vehicle or home. If it is essential to go to court, in cases where a reasonable settlement allows the family to move ahead after a tragic error, it may be the best solution.
How do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Step Five
Fulfill The Pre-Suit Obligations
Depending on the jurisdiction in which the case is filed, it may be a requirement to obtain a medical certification of the merits of the malpractice claim. This would require a medical expert and a total and complete review of the circumstances under which the harm occurred.
In addition, it may be necessary to provide specific notifications prior to filing the suit. It is imperative to have a lawyer who understands the particular requirements of the jurisdiction in which the case will be filed. Failure to comply can lead to a dismissal of the lawsuit, with no opportunity to re-file.
How do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Step Six:
Commencing of the Medical Malpractice Action
The filing of the case marks the start of the formal legal action. In many jurisdictions, this means there is a complaint that is filed. Although there are states where there is an initial filing acting as a form of notice, then a complaint is filed within a specific timeframe.
The drafting of the complaint is complicated because facts have to be pled in a certain way to present a compelling case overview for everyone who will review the complaint. To maximize the victim’s chances of recovery, it is necessary to give a lawyer as much time as possible to formulate a strong case and summarize it in the complaint.
What is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice?
If you slip and fall at a friend’s house and break your leg, you will need to recover the costs associated with your medical care and lost wages. Most people know that you would see a firm of personal injury lawyers to make a claim against the homeowner.
While you were getting care for your broken leg, the doctor used the wrong surgical implement and made your break worse. So much worse that you needed additional surgery and had to stay in the hospital. While in the hospital, you contracted a Hospital Acquired Infection and ultimately needed to have your leg amputated. This would be the time to ask, how do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
If you want to make a claim against the surgeon, you will need a different type of lawyer, one who focuses on medical mistakes or medical malpractice.
Most people understand that if a person suffers an emotional or physical injury due to someone else’s carelessness, the injury falls under the Personal Injury Law. But if the injury is the direct result of a mistake by a medical professional, then you require a more specialized type of attorney, namely a medical malpractice attorney.
All malpractice lawyers are personal injury attorneys as medical malpractice is a form of personal injury. However, not all personal injury attorneys are malpractice lawyers because of their specialized nature. Both personal injury law and medical malpractice law serve to correct a civil wrong when someone gets injured, but it’s not their fault.
However, medical malpractice is a type of personal injury. There are many similarities, but medical malpractice cases are much more complicated than routine car accident cases or slip and fall cases.
What Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Have In Common
Because the two areas are closely related, the following outlines their surface similarities:
Civil tort law — Medical malpractice and personal injury both fall under civil law and torts.
Injured parties — Both practice areas are based upon seeking justice through the civil court system when someone has been harmed or injured because of another party’s actions, inaction, or negligence.
Monetary compensation — The method of justice sought is financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages the injured party has suffered.
Non–economic damages — Some states have a maximum for non-economic damages awarded in personal injury claims. Non-economic damages are to compensate injured people for the suffering and pain due to someone else’s negligence. There is no maximum for most personal injury victims in cases of catastrophic injuries, but there is for victims of medical malpractice. That max is $500k per person and $1 million if there are multiple plaintiffs.
Essential Distinctions Between Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice
The differences between personal injury and medical malpractice are apparent if you have been through a medical malpractice case. These claims are complicated and difficult, requiring extensive time, research, and documentation. They also cost far more to litigate and to take to trial. The following are other distinctions between the two areas of practice:
Personal injury claims are broader in scope but not overly complex. Medical malpractice claims deal only with injuries related to healthcare issues and are difficult and complex.
Issues in Dispute
Negligence is admitted in many personal injury claims. For example, a driver who crashed the stop sign and was cited by the police usually admits fault. In medical negligence cases, hospitals and doctors will fight tooth and nail to deny, deny, and deny again, even if their conduct seems indefensible.
Affidavit of Merit
An individual who brings a medical negligence case must first obtain an affidavit or a sworn statement from a physician stating that the defendant was careless or negligent and therefore caused injury before the lawsuit can be filed. No other type of personal injury case has this pre-suit requirement.
Medical negligence cases usually require hiring multiple expert witnesses, whose fees for reviewing records and providing objective opinion testimony can be costly. This makes medical malpractice cases much more risky and expensive to pursue.
Statute of limitations
In many states, the statute of limitations is different for bodily personal injury claims than for medical malpractice suits. But the time limit to file a lawsuit for medical negligence is shorter than for a personal injury claim. An injured person has one year to file a suit for medical negligence. However, determining when the clock begins for a medical malpractice lawsuit isn’t clear since various exceptions exist to delay the clock’s ticking.
If the medical negligence results in death, a two-year time limit to seek atonement for the wrongful death may apply. Please check with a lawyer to see what time limit applies to your situation.
Concerning the complexity of a medical malpractice suit, they are far more challenging to prove. Statistics show a significantly higher plaintiff success rate for general personal injury cases than for medical negligence suits. This underscores the need to ensure you retain a law firm with extensive experience and intricate knowledge of the medical malpractice area, which comes only from a complete understanding of its practice.
Now that you know the particulars of medical malpractice, you no longer need to ask yourself, “How do you file a medical malpractice lawsuit?” But make sure you follow the procedures correctly to ensure things go smoothly.
What About Dental Malpractice?
Dental malpractice happens when a dental patient is harmed by sub-standard care. Dentists may successfully raise their defenses in a dental malpractice lawsuit — it can be challenging to win a case for pulling the wrong tooth. Although painful, it is typically not considered enough of an injury to instigate a lawsuit because this mistake can be easily corrected.
Common Forms of Dental Malpractice
People can sustain permanent or temporary injuries to the nerves of the chin, lips, jaw, tongue, or teeth because of the slightest mistake on the part of the dentist. Here is a list of the common types of dental malpractice:
- Administration of anesthesia incorrectly or negligently
- Broken or fractured jaw due to a dental procedure
- Complications from dental work previously performed
- Complications arising from the incorrectly completed crown, bridge, or dental implant
- Delayed or wrong dental treatment or diagnosis
- Dentists failure to take into account the patient’s pertinent medical history
- Failure to detect periodontal disease, oral cancer, or other oral diseases
- Failure to provide correct emergency dental services
- Improper usage of dental equipment or tools
- Molesting a patient while under sedation
- Nerve injuries because of dental injections
- Permanent or temporary numbness, or loss of taste or sensation
- Permanent or temporary structural injuries to the chin, lips, tongue, or jaw
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders
- Unnecessary extraction of multiple teeth or extraction of wrong teeth
- Wrongful death resulting from oral surgery or dental procedures
Going through the process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is not an easy one. It’s always good to make sure you have a support system in place for the emotional rollercoaster that may come.