Can I File a Claim for Medical Negligence?

Stethoscope and gavel

Medical malpractice or negligence occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor or other healthcare professional who fails to competently perform their duties — often defined as “negligent or unskilled treatment.” If you believe that an injury or medical condition that you or a loved one suffered was caused or worsened by malpractice, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

But before you seek compensation to help with the financial and emotional burden of the injury, there are some important rules you’ll need to follow in order to have the best chance at winning your case. Keep reading for an overview of what to expect when filing a claim for medical negligence. 

What’s the Process for Proving Medical Negligence?

Filing a suit against the practitioner or hospital that caused harm to you or your loved one can be extremely difficult without the help of an experienced lawyer. Your best chance for proving negligence is to partner with an accomplished attorney who has handled and won these types of cases before. A medical negligence lawyer will help you demonstrate that all the following occurred:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed. This one may sound simple, but it’s important. You must be able to prove that you had an actual physician-patient relationship with your doctor. If you received dangerous medical advice from a physician you met at a party or elsewhere outside of a professional medical setting, you do not have grounds for a lawsuit. 
  • The doctor was negligent. Being unsatisfied with your results or treatment does not prove medical negligence. To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must be able to prove that your physician was negligent in regard to your treatment or diagnosis in a way that, under the same circumstances, a more competent doctor would not have been. There’s quite a bit of gray area here, which is why partnering with a medical negligence attorney is your best chance for proving negligence. 
  • That negligence caused the injury. This is connected to proving that the doctor was negligent, but it also needs to be proved that the negligence resulted in harm to the patient. Many malpractice cases involve patients who were already sick or injured before the negligence occurred. This makes it tricky — but necessary — to prove that the physician in question did in fact cause harm. Most often, this requires the presence of a medical expert to testify. 

What Factors Might Affect Your Ability to File a Medical Negligence Claim?

Now you know the core facts that need to be proven in order to file a medical malpractice claim. However, it’s also important to know that many states have rules and procedures that may interfere with your case if not carefully followed. Here are the special requirements you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • Statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Most states have a statute of limitations for these types of cases, which means if you don’t file the lawsuit in time, your case could be dismissed. 
  • Appointed medical malpractice review panels. In most states, the patient is required to submit their claim to a malpractice panel for preliminary review. The panel will decide whether or not malpractice has occurred. Although their consensus does not count as an actual verdict, their findings will be presented in court, and courts may use their review to justify throwing out a case before it goes to trial.
  • Special notice requirements. Keep in mind that many states require that patients notify the physician of the malpractice claim before filling. 

A Personal Injury Law Firm with Impressive Wins for Victims

If you or a loved one has been affected by medical negligence, our team is here to fight for the compensation your family deserves. The nationally recognized lawyers of Janet, Janet & Suggs help victims of medical negligence all over the country, in areas including Baltimore, Chicago, Columbia, NYC, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Des Moines and many more. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case, and let us help you on the road to recovery.

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