Starting a Medical Malpractice Case: First Steps

Medical News Today states that “Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional or provider neglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action, or gives substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. The malpractice or negligence normally involves a medical error. This could be in diagnosis, medication dosage, health management, treatment, or aftercare.” If you or a loved one have ever suffered medical malpractice, you know how horrific an experience it can be – whether it was intentional on the health care professional’s part or not.

Thankfully, medical malpractice law enables patients to seek retribution via medical malpractice suits. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, somewhere between 15,000 to 19,000 suits are filed ever year in the United States.

Can anyone file a medical malpractice suit?

In order to file a medical malpractice suit, you need to be able to prove that not only did the physician act negligently, but that that negligence caused injury or harm, and that that harm resulted in one or more of the following:

  • Disability
  • Chronic pain
  • Lasting hardship
  • Substantial loss of income
  • Suffering

How do I know if I have a medical malpractice suit?

Here are some examples of the types of malpractice that can lead to a lawsuit:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Potentially fatal infections contracted during hospital stay
  • Bedsores
  • High doses of blood thinners causing increased bleeding
  • Chronic pain after surgery
  • Leaving objects in patient’s body after surgery
  • Operating on the wrong part of the patient’s body
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
  • Failure to follow-up
  • Failure to order tests or act on test results
  • Incorrect or unnecessary surgery
  • Premature discharge
  • Failure to get informed consent from the patient
  • Failure to disclose procedure risks

I think I have a malpractice case, what should I do now?

If you think you may be entitled to medical malpractice recovery, follow these recommended steps:

  1. Contact the medical professional responsible to get to the bottom of what exactly happened, and if there’s anything they can do to fix the issue.
  2. If the medical professional in question is unwilling to cooperate, reach out to the state’s medical licensing board. They can inquire or issue a warning to the practitioner that may influence him/her to find a solution for the problem. If this probes to be ineffective, the licensing board can advise you on next steps.
  3. If you think you may need to file a medical malpractice claim, check the statutes of limitation in your state to make sure that the filing deadline hasn’t already passed.
  4. If the statutes of limitations have not passed, it’s time to acquire a “certificate of merit” to establish that your case has merit. You can usually obtain this from another medical professional. He or she will review your records and affirm that the physician in question did indeed fail to provide proper care.
  5. Consider hiring an attorney. Medical malpractice cases can be costly and time consuming. An expert attorney can advise you on your case and help secure the compensation you deserve.

What type of compensation can I get for a medical malpractice suit?

If you win a medical malpractice suit, you may be awarded compensatory damages and/or punitive damages. Compensatory damages include things like past and future medical expenses, economic damages, lost earning compacity, and life care expenses. They can also include non-economic things like psychological and emotional destress, physical harm, and chronic pain. If the health care provider is found guilty of malicious or willful misconduct, punitive damages will be awarded. This means he or she will be punished by the court of law.

Partnering with an experienced medical malpractice attorney

Our medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning they do not get paid unless the plaintiff is awarded a settlement. If you need assistance with your medical malpractice suit, we encourage you to contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers about your situation for a no-obligation, no-cost consultation. Call Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton, P.A. at 904-249-9030 or email us. You can learn more about medical malpractice on our YouTube channel.


Victim of Medical Malpractice? Call a Jacksonville Attorney Today

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