Here are four steps to take if you were harmed as a result of a doctor’s negligence and believe that it qualifies as medical malpractice.
When you go into a doctor’s office or check into a hospital, you expect to leave feeling better. At the very least, you anticipate that you’ll be about the same.
What you don’t expect is to leave in worse condition than before. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. And in some of these cases, medical malpractice is to blame.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the blanket term used to describe a situation in which a patient is harmed by a doctor, nurse, or other members of the medical community who fails to perform all of his or her medical duties.
There are special rules and stipulations in every state, but the basic requirements for a claim are as follows:
- The medical professional acted in a way that directly violated the accepted standard of care in the profession (which varies by area of medicine).
- Another similarly trained and qualified professional would not have acted in the same manner under similar circumstances.
- As a result of the deviation from the normal standard of practice, the patient suffered injury.
- The injury directly contributed to an identifiable loss like medical bills or lost wages.
“In other words, to establish medical malpractice, it is not enough for a patient to show that a doctor made a mistake,” explains The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates.
“The patient must also show that the medical professional’s mistake was a deviation from what the medical community in his or her area of medicine traditionally accepts.”
Four Steps Malpractice Victims Need To Take
If you believe you’re the victim of a medical mistake that meets the four criteria above, you may have a malpractice case. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Protect Your Health
Your personal health and safety come first. If you suspect medical malpractice, you have every right to stop seeing your current physician and make a switch to someone else. You do not have to provide a reason for your switch.
This new doctor can help you correct the mistake and get you back on track for proper treatment.
2. Gather Evidence
Few cases of medical malpractice are cut and dry. While you may think your case is pretty clear, there are dozens of independent factors that could negate your claim. That’s why it’s important to gather as much evidence as you possibly can.
One suggestion is to start a journal. The mind is fickle and it’s entirely possible that you’ll forget some key details as the weeks and months pass.
By documenting what happens, you create a reference point that can be relied upon when things become hazy.
3. Hire An Attorney
Before doing anything related to your case, you should hire a medical malpractice attorney who can walk you through the best course of action.
A good attorney is one who:
- Has experience dealing with similar cases;
- Understands the proper rules and deadlines;
- Has exceptional negotiation skills;
- And possesses a reputation for getting results for his clients.
Whether you are planning to pursue a simple HIPAA lawsuit, sue because you have been prescribed the wrong drugs or any other form of medical negligence, you will need a good attorney.
It is vital that you employ someone who has previous experience of dealing with the health sector. A lawyer you know will be in your corner, as you go through the process of getting better while suing for compensation.
4. Refrain From These Mistakes
The frustration of a medical malpractice incident can leave you feeling agitated, stressed, anxious, and even fearful of what will happen next.
But no matter how much pressure you feel, you must refrain from making costly mistakes like these:
- Contacting the potential defendant or their attorneys (in writing, in person, by email, etc.).
- Entering into a quick settlement negotiation without consulting your own attorney.
- Signing any documents or forms related to the incident before consulting with your attorney.
- Posting information on social media about the incident.
Loose lips and erratic actions won’t do you any favors. As tough as it is to remain patient in these situations, that’s exactly what you need to do. Focus on getting better and let your lawyer handle the logistics.
Look Out For Your Best Interests
At the end of the day, it’s all about your best interests. If you were harmed as a result of a doctor’s negligence and believe that it qualifies as medical malpractice, you owe it to yourself to pursue a claim.
You never know just how impactful a medical mistake can be on your physical, emotional, and financial health.
A skilled attorney can help you explore your options and find a solution that works best.