It’s estimated that somewhere around 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical error. But surprisingly, only one-third of all medical malpractice cases brought to trial are found in favor of the victim. This is because medical malpractice cases are so hard to prove. In a lot of situations, it ends up being the victim’s word against the medical practitioner, and with an experienced team of lawyers at the hospital’s side, it can be difficult to show that an injury or increased illness was in fact the fault of a medical practitioner.
If it’s this hard to prove, then how do you know when you need to call a medical malpractice lawyer?
As you can imagine, it can be hard to judge whether your doctor or nurse was at fault. But if you know your illness or injury occurred as a direct result of a doctor or nurse’s negligence, then you may be able to bring a claim up against them. The most common incidents of a medical malpractice case that can often be proved include:
- An injury that occurs during surgery
- A patient was given the wrong anesthesia dosage
- A patient was prescribed the wrong medication
- A doctor fails to diagnose an illness that should have been recognizable
- A patient catches an infection in a hospital or doctors office
- A patient is not informed of the possible risks or consequences of a treatment or surgery
If any of these incidents are true of your injuries or illness, it’s likely that you can bring a claim against your medical practitioner. It’s essential that you call a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you think you have a valid case. They can advise you on your next steps and confirm that your claim is worth pursuing.
However, before you file a claim, there are a few steps to take that your attorney will likely suggest:
Contact the medical practitioner responsible:
Before you file a claim, it’s a good idea to call the medical professional you work with. In many cases, if something has gone wrong, most doctors will work to fix the issue free of charge, if a remedy is possible. You also need to get an understanding of what’s happened and see if there is anything that can be done to reverse or stop the problem. Best case scenario, your medical professional will offer a course of action that will fix the injury or reverse the illness, without billing you. At that point, you won’t need to file a claim at all, and should be able to resolve the issue free of charge.
Talk to the medical licensing board:
If you reach out to your doctor and they are unable or unwilling to help you, consider contacting the Medical Licensing board responsible for your doctor, nurse, or hospital. Though they won’t have the power to order compensation, they can let you know how to proceed with your case, and they can issue disciplinary measures and warnings to the medical practitioner at fault.
Understand that your claim has a time limit:
While each of the above are important steps in establishing a solid medical malpractice case, it’s good to know that every medical malpractice claim has a time limit. Called the “statute of limitations,” these limits mean that you have to file your claim within a certain time after the injury or illness occurred. If you don’t meet this statute of limitations, you risk waiving your rights to monetary compensation from your case. This is one of the primary reasons it’s important to contact a reliable lawyer as soon as possible. They’ll know how much time you have to file a claim, and they’ll be able to advise you on the strength of your case. A dedicated medical malpractice lawyer will ensure you don’t miss any important dates like this one, and they’ll help you going forward with your case.
Get a medical assessment:
The best way to prove your case is to show that you’ve medically confirmed your injuries exist and that they were caused as a direct result of negligence. To do this, and to help your case, it’s a good idea to see another physician, have them review your medical records, and certify that your original medical practitioner deviated from the accepted medical practice and procedure. If they agree that this deviation resulted in your injury, your attorney can file a certificate of merit, which confirms that you’ve been seen by a medical expert who agrees that your action for a medical malpractice claim has merit.
Consider an Out-of-Court Settlement:
It’s important to remember that a significantly low percentage of medical practice claims are found in favor of the victim. Medical malpractice insurance companies reject as many claims as they can, which means that it’s often in your best interest to settle out-of-court, if possible. If you don’t, you risk even having a case to bring. This, of course, is not true of all cases, and truly depends on the situation. If you have a strong case, you can request a larger settlement, but this is another reason to have a solid medical malpractice attorney at your side. They’ll be able to advise you on your best chances, all options considered.
Remember that any good medical malpractice attorney will offer a free claim review or initial consultation. Here, you can ask all of those important questions you’ve been wondering about, and get a fair assessment of your chances with your medical malpractice claim. It’s a good idea to speak to an attorney who has experience with medical malpractice cases and to get the opinions of a few reputable attorneys. Medical malpractice claims are highly subjective and require a great deal of consideration, so you want to make sure you have an attorney you can trust to help you through it.
If you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, get the professional help you need today. As an experienced medical malpractice firm, The Epstein Law Firm is here to help you navigate the lengthy, confusing process that is a medical malpractice claim. We’ve handled a number of medical malpractice cases successfully, and we’re more than happy to provide you with an honest assessment of your claim. For your free case evaluation, give our office a call at 773-522-7000, or make an online request now!