Medical malpractice claims are filed for a variety of reasons, including surgical errors, prescription drug mistakes, and birth injuries. What all these situations have in common is a failure by the healthcare provider to render timely, appropriate care to a patient.
If that has unfortunately happened to you, you may qualify for compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Filing a claim over medical malpractice can bring significant compensation. However, it isn’t always easy.
Medical malpractice is one of the most complicated types of personal injury cases. Other personal injury claims involve proving general negligence, while medical malpractice requires involving a medical expert witness to prove your provider violated a professional standard of care.
By following certain steps, you can progress with a medical malpractice claim feeling confident that you are taking informed action for the best chance of a successful outcome.
Consult with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
You need a medical malpractice lawyer to gain compensation for medical malpractice successfully. This type of legal action is highly complex. A medical malpractice attorney can navigate this legal process to ensure you are fairly compensated.
When you consult with a medical malpractice lawyer, they’ll listen to the details surrounding your medical care and inform you of whether you have adequate grounds for a claim.
If you do, they’ll work to establish a target compensation value based on your losses, build a case for negligence against your medical provider, complete legal steps and paperwork, and negotiate or litigate compensation on your behalf.
A successful medical malpractice claim hinges on adequate documentation. Without proof of your medical history and the care you received, you won’t be able to demonstrate any negligence in a medical malpractice case.
You’ll need to provide copies of your medical records and any other documentation relevant to your claim. Medical records can be difficult to obtain due to privacy laws. Your lawyer will walk you through the process of signing a release so that documents related to your medical care can be released to your attorney’s office.
In some cases, it may be necessary for a medical malpractice attorney to review your records before they can confirm whether you have a case.
Since it can take time for a release to be approved and records sent to their office, you may choose to directly request a copy of your records and bring them with you when you go in for your initial consultation to avoid the wait.
Give Notice of Your Intent
Medical malpractice is a unique type of personal injury case. The general procedure is to give notice to the healthcare provider that you’ll be filing a medical malpractice claim.
In some states, this step is a legal requirement. If your state requires a formal notice of intent, there may be a mandatory waiting period during which the provider can assess your case, consult with their insurance company, and decide how they’ll respond.
Even in cases in which notice of intent is not legally required, it’s still usually regarded as the most efficient way to initiate legal proceedings in a medical malpractice claim. Ensuring you have obtained copies of any medical documentation before giving notice is best.
Your medical malpractice lawyer will handle communications on your behalf. Giving notice of intent helps to get your claim moving forward. In a best-case scenario, your provider’s insurance company may agree to settle for the amount you request.
However, it’s common for medical professionals and their insurance providers to push back against a claim of medical malpractice. If you encounter resistance, it will be necessary for your attorney to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Complete Pre-Filing Requirements
Legal requirements for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit vary by state. Depending on your state’s laws, your attorney must fulfill certain obligations before your case is ready to file.
In every state, one requirement for a medical malpractice claim is submitting expert medical testimony. Your lawyer will need to engage a medical professional who provides the same type of care as the individual you’re bringing a claim against.
The medical expert will need to review your case and provide sworn testimony that the care you received somehow violated the professional standard of care to which healthcare professionals are held. Without this testimony, you can’t file a lawsuit over medical malpractice.
In addition to a statement from a medical expert, there may also be additional pre-filing requirements. State laws also vary regarding how much time you have to file over medical malpractice. Some states, like Ohio, only allow one year to file a claim in court.
Since your lawyer needs to go through the steps of collecting documentation, establishing negligence, consulting an expert witness, and attempting negotiation, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice law as quickly as possible.
File Your Medical Malpractice Claim
Once all preparatory steps have been handled, it becomes time for your medical malpractice lawyer to draft and file your formal medical malpractice claim in civil court. At this point, it’s still possible for a case to resolve through negotiation between your attorney and your healthcare provider’s insurance company.
Insurance providers generally prefer to avoid court proceedings’ expense and time commitment. When an insurance company sees that you’re willing to take them to court, they may be more willing to meet your terms through negotiation.
If the insurance provider still does not work with you, it will be necessary to undergo court proceedings. Your lawyer will handle this for you, and your actual participation in court hearings should be fairly minimal. Ultimately, your medical malpractice compensation will be determined by a court verdict.
A Medical Malpractice Lawyer Fights for You
Medical malpractice can bring grave consequences for the patient who receives negligent medical care. Because the harm is often extensive in these cases, they often bring significant compensation.
Any type of medical malpractice case requires the aid of a medical malpractice lawyer. In cases involving serious injury or high expenses, a fair outcome depends on choosing a medical malpractice lawyer with experience and a track record of success.
If you or a loved one has been injured through medical malpractice in Ohio, the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Slater & Zurz can help you recover compensation. Call our firm today to learn more.