A study by John Hopkins established that at least 250,000 Americans have succumbed to medical mistakes. Other studies have reported that medical errors have led to 440,000 deaths. The discrepancy in the figure isn’t surprising, considering that doctors rarely indicate death as caused by medical mistakes.
With the apparent prevalence of medical malpractice, it is crucial to understand the legal steps to take if you’re a victim of this kind of negligence. You can get the rightful compensation for the damage caused. Are you a victim of medical malpractice?
Read this article to know more about medical malpractice suits
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a treatment by a healthcare provider that leads to undue injury to a patient through omission or a negligent act. The negligence can result from a misdiagnosis, errors in treatment, health management, or aftercare. For a case to pass as medical malpractice, one has to consider the elements characterizing the negligence.
Here are some of the elements that will make your medical malpractice suit admissible.
Medical Professional Violated the Standard of Care
Health professionals have to adhere to specific standards of care that the law outlines. You should know these standards so that you can take the right steps if you feel violated. Failure to meet the standard is akin to negligence, which can have negative impacts on a patient.
Sustenance of Injury Due to Negligence
Your medical malpractice claim can only be valid if you prove that you have injuries caused by the violation of standard care. Note that proving a negligent act caused you to suffer damage isn’t always easy. It is important to have witnesses, documents, or drugs that would probably show you were misdiagnosed.
Significant Damages Resulting from the Injury
Medical malpractice suits can be financially overwhelming. To pursue this claim, you need to prove an injury has led to the loss of income, disability, suffering, unusual pain, and high medical bills that you might have to incur even in the future. While you might want to fight for your rights, pursuing a case after insignificant damages will incur more expenses than what you’ll recover.
The Process of Medical Malpractice Suits
The U.S. has about 17,000 medical malpractice suits filed every year. If you have been a victim of medical negligence, don’t shy away from filing for compensation. Thousands of Americans are doing so, and it is within your rights.
Taking action after a medical error that has left you with injuries protects you from the potential challenges, you’re likely to face. Here are the four steps involved when filing a medical malpractice claim.
File the Lawsuit
Getting an experienced medical malpractice attorney to guide you even before you file a lawsuit will increase your chances of getting the rightful compensation. With a legal representative, you won’t need to worry about getting the appropriate paperwork. At this point, ensure that you meet all the limitations statute to proceed successfully.
Discovery takes place after filing your complaint and notifying all the parties involved. The process of discovery involves both parties requesting information and evidence to assist them in building individual cases. At this stage, the plaintiff and the defense need an expert medical witness to evaluate the situation and advise on the way forward.
Your lawyer will present the case hoping that the defendant will accept liability. The outcome of the discovery determines the next processes.
Statement of the Medical Expert Witnesses
Parties should decide on a neutral expert medical witness to investigate the occurrence of the malpractice. You can have a specialist in the medical field involved or a generalist depending on the requirements in your state. Laws governing each state determine the level of specialty expected of an expert witness in a case involving medical malpractice.
An expert witness should establish the negligence besides determining how it led to injuries. The lawsuit will be withdrawn if the expert medical witnesses don’t find any breach of the standard of care. However, the lawsuit proceeds if the medical expert establishes that negligence occurred.
If your case has merit, the defense will request for an out-of-court settlement. Going to court means that medical malpractice will get the spotlight, which is likely to ruin the reputation of the accused. The defense will offer a settlement amount so that you don’t go to court.
The defense attorney will try to minimize the cash that the client pays for the medical malpractice. If you have an experienced lawyer for medical malpractice, you’ll get the rightful compensation based on your case’s strength. When the defense lawyer insists on an unreasonable amount, your attorney can decide to forward the case for trial.
A court case can be time-consuming and expensive. As such, most medical malpractice cases hardly go to court. However, you shouldn’t rule out the option as it is viable if the defense doesn’t want to give the compensation you deserve.
Collect Your Payment
Once a verdict is reached in a medical malpractice suit, you can choose to collect your money as structured or lumpsum payments. The structured payments are ideal for children who might need medical care permanently or over the long-term. You need to work with a reliable company to ensure that you get the right amount in the long-run.
A lump sum amount is another popular option with fewer complications. You can choose this alternative to give you options on how to go covering most expenses. After getting your settlement, pay your attorney as per the agreement during the hiring process.
A Medical Malpractice Suit Is a Viable Option If You’re a Victim of Medical Negligence
Most victims of medical negligence don’t know how to go about the process of filing a claim. Others fear the seemingly complex nature of these cases. If your case has merit, you can pursue compensation.
With the help of a qualified lawyer, medical malpractice suits are likely to end well. You will receive your rightful compensation working with an experienced lawyer.
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