Hospitals are facilities that are supposed to uphold a certain level of care. Patients expect to be treated well and be made better, not be subject to negligence. Unfortunately, negligent care does happen and patients have a legal right to receive compensation due to any resulting injuries.
Medical malpractice laws were designed to help protect patient rights. These laws are in place to provide assistance when a patient has been given below standard medical care.
The steps to fighting medical malpractice begins with the patient. Read on below to find out what steps need to be taken to ensure your case goes to court.
Statute of Limitations
Patients have to understand that there is a statute of limitations when it comes to filing a claim of medical malpractice. Time limits are set and vary by state. Essentially, a patient needs to contact an attorney at once and file a legal claim. The time frame can be from one from the date of the treatment, so it is essential to act quickly.
Consulting a Medical Malpractice Attorney
To get started, you will need to see if you have a case. A medical malpractice requires certain knowledge and experience, so you want to work with an attorney who has vast experience in this category of law.
Such cases can be complex and include legal, medical, and procedural terms that standard attorneys may not understand. An attorney who is familiar with such needs will be better equipped to help you with your case.
A free initial consultation will help you to receive advice and find out if you have a case. Bring along any information you can provide to help support your claims. The attorney will review your information and give you advice as to if you should file a claim or if you do not have a case.
Who is at Fault?
You must also determine if the hospital is at fault or an independent contractor. Just because the negligence took place at the hospital does not mean that the facility is at fault.
If an individual doctor provided the below standard care, then the doctor will be at fault. If the hospital is at fault, then you will have a different case altogether. Your attorney will be able to help you with the determination.
Obtaining Medical Records
The next step will be to obtain medical records. A request will be made to the hospital so that the copies of records will be provided to the patient. This information can be used to help build your case.
If you are suing the hospital for damages, the facility may decide to make you an offer so the case can be settled outside of court. Because of this, you need to determine the value of your case. Losses and harm from the malpractice need to be considered.
This would include past and future medical bills, wage losses past and future, pain and suffering, etc. Your attorney will be able to help you add value to your claims.
Compliance of Procedural Rules
One reason you should work with a medical malpractice attorney is their knowledge of legal procedural rules. The requirements will vary by state, with the requirement to file an affidavit of merit in place.
You may have to submit a claim to a medical review board before a suit can be filed or other measures. Make sure you follow all procedures so your case will be handled the right way.
Moving ahead with the complaint
Once you have finished all the above, you will be ready to have your complaint drafted and filed. The complaint will include your name, the names of those responsible, a description of the injury and how it happened as well as the harm it has caused. The amount of money the patient seeks as compensation must also be included.