When you are treated by a medical professional, you are trusting them with your health. Consequently, when these medical professionals are negligent or make a serious medical error, they need to be held accountable for that negligence.
Malpractice among medical professionals is a serious nationwide issue. If you’ve been harmed because of a medical mistake, it’s essential to know what rights you have. Medical malpractice firms like Janet, Janet & Suggs can provide legal consultations to review your case and discuss how to file a malpractice claim against a doctor.
Medical malpractice cases are much more than just filing the paperwork for the lawsuit. You, as the injured party, ultimately have the burden of proof. Proving malpractice isn’t easy, and you will have many procedural hurdles you will need to overcome.
Know the Statute of Limitations
There are deadlines, known as the statute of limitations, by which you, as an injured party, need to file a lawsuit or claim in a medical malpractice case. The statute of limitations can be four or more years from the date of the alleged incident or as short as two years, depending upon where you are filing suit.
Absent just a few exceptional circumstances, if you fail to file your malpractice lawsuit or claim against the medical professional within the statute of limitations, you lose the right to seek monetary compensation for the damages and injuries sustained.
Attorneys with medical malpractice firms will know the statute of limitations deadlines in the jurisdiction associated with your case. They will work with you to ensure your lawsuit or claim is filed in a timely manner.
Notice of Claim
In many states, you can’t simply file a lawsuit when looking to take legal action against a medical professional. Instead, you need to send a notice to the doctor first. This notice will indicate to them that you are planning to file a claim for medical malpractice. Once this notice is filed, there might be a waiting period before you are eligible to file a claim.
Notice of claim requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another. Medical malpractice firms will have lawyers familiar with these requirements and the information that needs to be included in a notice of claim sent to the negligent medical professional.
Certificate or Affidavit of a Qualified Expert
In addition to sending a notice of claim to the medical professional, most jurisdictions require you to submit a certificate or affidavit from a qualified expert. This certificate or affidavit is typically completed by an expert medical professional willing to testify there are reasonable grounds to show that medical malpractice or medical negligence took place in your case. The exact requirement for a certificate or affidavit of a qualified expert again will vary across jurisdictions and from state to state.
Satisfying the Legal Standard
Once you meet these prerequisites and notice requirements, you may be able to file a malpractice claim against the medical professional. To prove the medical professional was negligent and that they committed medical malpractice, you must first show the medical professional breached the duty of care you were owed.
All doctors owe their patients a duty of care. Medical doctors are typically held to the standard of care that a reasonable doctor acting under similar circumstances and located in the same geographical location as the treating doctor would provide.
At the same time, doctors practicing in a specialized area of medicine such as orthopedists, cardiologists, gynecologists, and obstetricians are typically held to the national standard of care for medical malpractice cases.
If you, as the injured party, can prove via qualified expert testimony that the medical professional committed medical negligence, you have then satisfied the first step in proving medical malpractice against them. However, you also need to show the medical professional’s negligence caused your specific damages or injuries.
Additional injuries may be in the form of a medical complication or the need for follow-up medical procedures and treatments such as corrective surgeries. Potential damages available in malpractice cases against medical professionals include:
- Compensation for lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity due to the inability to work
- Loss of spousal support or companionship resulting from the negligent act
- Loss of quality of life and inconvenience due to the malpractice
- Payment of related physical therapy and other medical bills
- Pain and suffering associated with the negligent act
- Related emotional distress and mental anguish
Lawyers working with medical malpractice firms understand the legal actions necessary to maximize the value of the case and how to increase the likelihood of receiving financial compensation.If you believe you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice by a medical professional, you have several available options. Complete our online form and have an experienced medical malpractice attorney at Janet, Janet & Suggs evaluate the circumstances of your claim to determine if you have grounds to take legal action against your treating physician.