What happens if someone you love dies due to negligence by a medical practitioner? Well, you may have grounds to file and pursue a medical malpractice claim in court.
Due to the number of legal hoops that you must jump through during the process, it is important to understand how medical malpractice claims work. From engaging an attorney to filing a formal complaint, this article will give you a step-by-step guide on how to navigate through a medical malpractice case.
- Hire an Attorney
Yes, there are some legal aspects that you can handle by yourself before engaging an attorney. However, you should hire an attorney from a competent law firm like Powers & Santola LLP sooner than later.
The attorney will help you file a case before the statute of limitation for such cases is up. Further, the lawyer can also contact the professional that you’re bringing the case against.
Additionally, some requirements should be met before filing your case in court. Having an attorney by your side is important as they ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
- Get Copies of the Medical Records
Do you want to build a strong medical malpractice case? Then seek copies of medical records from the hospital. The content in these documents can either make or break your case.
Due to doctor-patient confidentiality, the family of the deceased must sign a waiver that allows the lawyer to get copies of the medical records. The records give a deeper understanding of the case and allow the plaintiff to look for medical practitioners who can weigh in on the matter and give crucial testimonies that may help your case.
- Notify The Insurance Companies
Before you file a case in court, notify the insurance company and the concerned hospital. With the notice, the insurance company can start an internal review of the case, and may result in an acceptable settlement before taking the case to court.
However, don’t make any decision on case settlement without the input of your attorney. In most cases, the insurance firms will prioritize profits and thus give you the compensation that’s less what you deserve or are entitled to.
- Check the Pre-Suit Requirements
The purpose of these requirements is to speed up the legal process by taking care of unnecessary stressors and obstacles. The requirements also open the door for possibilities of making early settlements to the case. With this, the possibility of bringing the case to lengthy and tiring court proceedings is averted.
- Consider an Out-Of-Court Settlement
It takes time and money to successfully argue a medical malpractice case in court. It’s even worse when death is in the picture. Further, most malpractice insurance companies reject many malpractice claims, it’s therefore in your best interest to settle the case out of court. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from seeking a higher payout especially when you have a strong case.
- File an Official Medical Malpractice Complaint
It is the final step of making a formal complaint against a medical practitioner. The complaint is a formal recitation of the allegations against the said hospital or medical practitioner. After filing the complaint, the malpractice case starts almost immediately.
Medical malpractice can occur in different ways across a variety of health care scenarios. At times, the malpractice may lead to wrongful death. For a legitimate malpractice claim, the actions or inactions of a healthcare provider fall short of the appropriate standard of care in the treatment practice. This means that the healthcare provider was negligent or that a healthcare professional of similar qualification and in the same capacity would’ve handled the case differently.