The number of medical negligence cases reported in the United States is alarming, and it keeps rising every year. More than 200,000 people have died due to this, and many more have been severely injured.
Many studies have discovered that most people who have sustained some form of injury or have been mistreated by their medical practitioners do not report their ordeals. They are left to suffer the consequences on their own. This lack of action may result in loss of life, valuable time, and money.
Many people do not know they have the right to report medical negligence and sue their doctors and hospitals. If your doctor has mistreated you and you believe you are in the position to sue and get compensation, ensure that you hire an expert in medical negligence to pursue your case. A medical negligence lawyer can help you put together a good case and give you a better chance of securing a claim.
Essential Things to Know Before Hiring a Lawyer to Pursue Your Case
There is a lot to know about suing medical negligence, and if you are unsure how to go about the process, continue reading to learn some helpful information that will guide you.
1. Know if Your Case Qualifies as Medical Negligence
The first step is to know if your case will qualify as medical negligence. There are certain instances when you cannot file a claim, so it's best to know them before approaching a lawyer.
Some valid cases that warrant suing include:
- ● Different Second Opinion: If you are not satisfied with your doctor's diagnosis of your ailment, it's okay to visit another doctor seeking a second opinion.
- If the results from the next doctor are different, that means one of the doctors is doing something wrong, increasing the chances of misdiagnosis or administration of poor treatment. Consult your lawyer if you find yourself in this situation.
- ● Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis: Delayed diagnosis can cause your condition to worsen, while misdiagnosis can lead to the administration of wrong treatment, which might be useless to your situation or even make it worse. Your suffering could have been reduced if the doctor had been diligent enough to spot the right issue on time.
- ● Your Doctor Ignores Your Complaints: All of your symptoms and concerns are valid, and your doctor is supposed to listen to you and take every situation seriously. If your doctor refuses to answer your questions or acknowledge your concerns and you remain in pain, it might be the right time to call your lawyer.
- ● Your Child Has Been Harmed During Birth: An accident during the delivery of a child can cause lifelong disabilities to the child and leave the mother traumatized. If you are in this situation, lifelong disabilities will require a lot of medical care and expenses. A good lawyer can ensure that you are adequately compensated.
Other cases you can bring to your attorney include worsening conditions due to prescribed medication, surgical errors, and failure to treat. If you are unsure if your situation qualifies as medical negligence, do not hesitate to speak to your lawyer to gain clarity.
2. Know the Statute of Limitations in Your State
The statute of limitation differs for filing different cases, and for medical negligence, it varies in different states.
In New York, your case is still valid if filed within two years and six months of the occurrence or from the end of receiving treatment from the doctor or hospital being sued.
Some exceptions can be considered when it involves continuous treatment or negligence in a minor. Talk to your lawyer or attorney about your case to avoid being time-barred.
3. Search for a Qualified Medical Attorney
After going through the above steps and when it's established that your case is valid and within the statutes of limitation, start looking for an expert medical negligence attorney to represent your case.
If you are a patient affected by medical negligence, you may be indisposed, and a good lawyer will help you achieve the proper compensation. Your lawyer can make sure your case is taken seriously and paid worthy compensation.
These are some qualities you should look for in your medical negligence lawyer:
- Experience: After handling numerous medical negligence claims similar to yours, they will have the proper knowledge to tackle your case and ensure that you are adequately compensated.
- Time: You don't want to hire a lawyer overwhelmed with many cases and may not be able to pay attention to your issues.
- Communication Skills: Medical negligence cases are very delicate. It would help if you had a lawyer who could ask the right questions to get the right results to make your case.
Look for all of the above qualities and more, the lawyer you pick plays a massive role in the success of your case.
4. Prepare Questions for Consultation
When you speak to a lawyer, you should come ready with valid questions. Your questions should give you insight into whether your case is valid and the chances of getting an adequate settlement.
Some questions you can ask include:
- Have you handled any case similar to mine?
- Am I within the suitable time frame to apply for a medical negligence claim?
- What aspects of the case will be favorable to me as we move forward, and what aspects will work against me?
- How long have you been practicing medical negligence law?
- Who will be my point of contact with your firm if I decide to move forward?
- What are your payment plans?
As you ask questions, ensure that you are getting straightforward answers. It will help you determine if the lawyer you are talking to is the best option.
5. You Can File a Medical Negligence Claim Without a Lawyer
Can I file a medical negligence claim by myself? It's a recurrent question among people thinking of suing their medical practitioners.
The answer is yes. But it's not a very good idea because you can easily get lost in all the paperwork and meetings that come with the case.
It would help if you had a lawyer already familiar with the terrain to make your case go smoothly. Some ways a good lawyer can help you include:
● Correspond with insurance companies.
● Negotiate the most favorable settlement for you.
● Arguing your case, if it gets before a court or jury.
● Speed up the process of payment.
● Avoid making mistakes that may be detrimental to your lawsuit.
Without a lawyer, you will have to conduct research and navigate the suit proceedings all by yourself. Hiring a professional will ensure that you are following the right processes.
The Bottom Line
Suppose you or any of your relatives have suffered any form of medical negligence, and you think getting legal representation is the next step. In that case, many law firms like Duffy and Duffy, PLLC, which specialize in medical negligence cases, are available for you.
Meet an attorney face to face or request a phone call to ask all your questions and get answers that will help get your case started and position you to receive adequate compensation.