Victim Of Medical Negligence? Here's What You Need To Know Before Hiring A Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Law Blog

As long as there have been doctors and other medical providers, there has invariably been medical negligence. While most medical professionals do the absolute best job they can, sometimes things do go horribly wrong. 

If you believe you or a family member may be the victim of medical malpractice, then it's important you understand as much about the process of filing litigation as you reasonably can. Armed with a clear understanding of the basics, you can then consult with a medical malpractice lawyer to determine if you have a winnable case and should file a lawsuit.

The Basic Requirements for Filing a Medical Malpractice Case

To be able to sue for medical malpractice, you need more than just a strong personal feeling your medical provider didn't treat you correctly. You legally need to have:

  • an established relationship with the provider
  • proof the "standard of care" was deviated from
  • proof you were seriously injured 

This means you can't sue a doctor who you had an informal conversation with about your condition. If you didn't pay the provider or your insurance didn't pay them, then you don't have an established doctor-patient relationship.

The "standard of care" refers to how other providers would treat your condition. If your doctor deviates from it, then this can be proof of malpractice. 

In addition to the above, you also need to be able to prove you suffered an injury due to negligent care, such as from a misdiagnosis, being prescribed inappropriate medications, or premature hospital discharge. 

Note: It is also important to mention that a negative healthcare outcome doesn't necessarily mean you were the victim of medical malpractice. Sometimes people just have illnesses and injuries that can't be fixed using the current medical knowledge and technology. When this is the case, you cannot sue anyone.

Proactive Steps You Should Take to Avoid Medical Malpractice

One of the best things you can do as a healthcare consumer is to take proactive steps to avoid becoming the victim of medical negligence. This is especially true in today's healthcare environment where you see your doctor for about five minutes before they run out the door to see their next patient.

With such short appointments, it is very hard for your providers to get a clear understanding of your medical condition. So, it's important you do everything you can to be proactive about your care. To do so, you need to be your own advoacte by:

  • learning about your condition and its treatment options
  • asking questions
  • asking for a second opinion for major medical problems
  • reducing your intimidation around attending medical appointments

It's important to attend your medical appointments armed with a list of questions derived from your research about your condition. This will help you feel more in charge and greatly reduce the intimidation factor of attending appointments.

Lastly, take notes during your appointments or record the interaction with your providers on your phone if they will allow it. 

If you believe you might have a case, contact a local medical malpractice law firm


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