Experiencing medical malpractice is a tough situation to have to deal with, and honestly, filing a medical malpractice claim in and of itself is almost as difficult. The legal world can be a difficult series of red tape to navigate, especially if you aspire to do it on your lonesome. In order to help you prepare for dealing with potentially negligent healthcare providers, we have prepared a handy guide on the first steps in reporting medical malpractice and generally how to build a strong case.
Valuable steps in building a strong medical malpractice case
First thing’s first, you really need to get a hold of the medical practitioner or practitioners who were involved in the situation, to begin with. This is your best approach to getting the information that may help understand exactly what went wrong and how it can ultimately be remedied if it can be remedied at all. Not only does this provide solid building blocks for a strong medical malpractice case, but it also keeps open the possibility that the medical practitioners may do what is in their power to correct the mistakes made if possible, and/or even perhaps offer compensation right away in order to avoid having to do the work of handling this after it has already escalated. If it is an adequate amount for the damages you have sustained, this may be incentive enough to not go forward with any medical malpractice case.
This does not necessarily mean that you have to accept this offer, especially if they require that you pay for the service that you feel should be given to you for free instead. If you think charging for it is an unreasonable request for them to make, then you may be justified in going forward with your medical malpractice case anyway. If this approach does not go as you desired, then the next best approach may be to reach out to the medical licensing board that covers the medical practitioners who are relevant to your potential malpractice case. They cannot give direct compensation to you, but they may be able to warn or even potentially discipline them, which could, in turn, lead them to settle the situation with you in such a way that satisfies your desires.
The next step is one that you should be sure to take as quickly as you are capable to do so, mainly because it has a strict time limit associated with it. Each state has its own statute of limitations on a number of different crimes and damages, some much longer than others, so be sure to try to grasp how long your state’s respective statute of limitations is for filing a medical malpractice claim. You certainly do not want to find out too late that the medical malpractice claim you intend to make was filed too late to apply. The timer for this statute of limitations starts at the time of the injury, though there may also be specific medical malpractice laws related to the statute of limitations, so check to see if any such relevant laws exist. Before you can actually file your claim, however, you may have to receive a medical assessment to indicate that your medical malpractice case has merit.
Some states require this as a part of the process, although having this verification that your claim has merit by a trusted professional will go a long way to lending your claim some credibility. The process of the assessment will involve this medical professional looking at your record and verify whether your original healthcare provider engages in behavior that fell outside of normal medical behavior and ultimately resulted in your injuries or other damages.
One of the biggest hurdles that you can expect to face when filing a medical malpractice claim is that it is not exactly a cheap thing to have to deal with. The longer this goes on, the more money you are going to put into it. And odds are, if you are dealing with medical practitioners, they are going to be more financially capable of handling a prolonged trial than you are. On the other hand, a lot of the time these types of people want to end this as quickly and painlessly as possible, so they are likely to offer you the opportunity to nip this medical malpractice case in the bud by offering you a settlement. The settlement process may take longer or shorter depending on how complicated the negotiations and the circumstances of the case turn out to be.
A settlement is often one of the better solutions you can look for, representing a mixture of a speedy result and a relatively successful financial outcome. Although it should be noted that just because a settlement may be a simpler and quicker result, it does not necessarily mean that it is always going to be the best result. For example, the settlement may not be sufficient in order to cover the damages that you sustained as a result of the alleged medical malpractice.
One of the best ways to make this settlement process go smoothly is by having a quality attorney who has expertise in medical malpractice claims. This really goes a long way to help you out with your case; after all, they are quite capable of grasping how much money is fair for the specific claim you are making, as well as being more capable to negotiate a stronger settlement for you. It is entirely possible that no settlement will be deemed suitable by both parties, however, in which case you may end up having to go to trial regardless. Ultimately, however, you should make sure that if you go to trial that you will have a positive outcome, as you do not want to have to worry about spending money on a trial and getting nothing in return.
One of the best pieces of advice you can get, however, is that working with an attorney through the process is a major boon to the success of any medical malpractice claim you intend to file. Not only will a good attorney help get you through the trial if you decide to go forward with it, but you also benefit from having an attorney’s quality advice at your disposal, even at the early points of the medical malpractice investigation. For example, an attorney can help handle your correspondence between you and the medical practitioners. You can also consult with your attorney in order to understand the strengths and weaknesses to your case, which helps you understand just how far you can pursue your case and how successful you can expect it to be.