Although it is not something that many of us like to think about the fact is that medical malpractice does occur. Your doctor is someone you should be able to trust but doctors sometimes fail to do their job in the best way possible.
When this happens it can have devastating consequences. You may find yourself dealing with medical complications that you never had before. This can get expensive fast.
To offset these costs, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there are some things you need to know about medical malpractice so that you can be informed about what to do.
What Can a Doctor Be Sued for?
A doctor can be sued for failure to diagnose. If it can be proven that your doctor could have made a different diagnosis that would have led you to be cured, your doctor can be sued for malpractice.
Improper treatment is also grounds for a lawsuit. If your doctor gives you medication or treats you in a way that is outside what any other doctors would do then they can be sued for malpractice.
If the doctor pursues a treatment option and fails to advise you of known risks, this is also grounds for a lawsuit. For example, if your doctor gives you medication and doesn’t inform you that this medication has been known to cause a heart attack or a stroke they can be held liable.
Requirements for Medical Malpractice Cases
When you decide to sue your doctor for medical malpractice you should know there is a time limit involved. You have to act fast depending on where you live.
In most instances, you only have six months to two years to bring a case to court. If you don’t bring the lawsuit within this specified time then the court is likely to dismiss your case.
Depending on where you live six months or two years will begin from the time your doctor performed a negligent act or from the time you discovered the injury.
You may need to submit your claim to a review panel first. The panel of experts will hear arguments from both parties.
They will review the evidence and call in expert testimony, the panel will then decide if medical malpractice has occurred. The decision of the panel will not replace the medical lawsuit itself.
The panel cannot award monetary compensation for damages. However, it is often a step that patients must go through before they bring their case against a doctor to court.
The findings of this review panel can work in your favor or not. This is because the court will often rely on the review panel’s decision to decide whether or not they should throw out your case.
Informing Your Doctor
Before you can file a malpractice claim, you may be required to give your doctor ample notice of your intention to file a malpractice claim against them. You will need to give them a basic description of why you are filing a malpractice lawsuit.
Depending on the location where you are filing a malpractice lawsuit you will need different experts to testify on your behalf. Expert testimony or expert affidavits are required by a malpractice review panel.
Who does and does not qualify as an expert in medicine varies based on where you live. However, generally speaking, an expert is someone who has had a vast amount of experience in a particular branch of medicine.
There are circumstances however where expert testimony is not required. For example, if a doctor left a towel or a sponge inside you during a surgical procedure. You do not need expert testimony to verify this. This can easily be proven by x-rays.
Doctors Who Work with the Military
If you are in the military and experienced a wrong diagnosis or improper treatment you may be wondering if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
This is because those who work for the government especially in the military often have special federal protection. While this is true, there is a legal clause called the federal tort claims act statute of limitations by which you can claim for damages.
If a military doctor performed any form of surgery that lead to you becoming more debilitated than you were or if you got medication that had an adverse effect you will need to sign up a Standard 95 form and submit it to the relevant federal agency.
This form can be tedious and it is best to get the help of a lawyer. This is because if the form is not correctly filled out it can result in your claim being denied. If the federal agency fails to deal with your filing in six months you can take the case to federal court.
In some cases, you may not have discovered that your doctor has done you harm until two years after the treatment. If this happens to you some federal tort claims acts will allow you to file a case against your doctor under what is known as the discovery rule.
This is especially helpful if it was impossible for you to have known beforehand that negligence was committed.
Dealing with a medical malpractice case can be tedious, to say the least. There are a lot of legal loopholes that you may have to jump through to get compensation.
This is why it is best to avoid going it alone. If you feel you have an airtight case it is best to hire a lawyer to assist you.
A good lawyer will ensure that all the paperwork is filed correctly and that the evidence is presented clearly. Often, paperwork that is not filled out correctly or which has not been filed in a timely manner is the biggest reason why a case is dismissed.
Get legal help from the beginning. In this way, there will be no legal loopholes that your doctor’s defense team can use to prevent you from being compensated for your injuries.