We put a lot of trust in doctors. In many cases, we may literally put our lives into their hands. In return, we expect a reasonable amount of care and professionalism to be present in their interactions with us.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In some situations, doctors may slip in their commitment to our care and safety, and serious consequences can arise from these mistakes. If this has happened to you, you may have a malpractice suit against doctors on your hands.
There is a lot to understand about medical malpractice before you bring a case forward. The law surrounding these cases can be quite complicated, and it is important you start off your case on the right footing and with the right knowledge. Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
1. Not All Mistakes Are Medical Malpractice
Mistakes happen at hospitals and doctor’s offices all of the time. Not every single one of these mistakes is necessarily indicative of medical malpractice. If you’re planning to bring forward a case against a doctor or group of doctors, it’s important that you are sure you have an actual case.
When we talk about medical malpractice, what do we mean? There must actually be a number of elements in place. To succeed in bringing a case forward, the plaintiff must be able to provide sufficient evidence of these elements.
The easiest is proof of a doctor-patient relationship. This simply means that the doctor had been seeing the plaintiff in a professional capacity. This should not be hard to prove if it was the case.
However, that doctor then must have provided medical care that falls below what would be accepted the minimum standard of care. This would be a level of care that if you surveyed a number of doctors in the country, they would all find to be lacking.
This failure to provide sufficient care is often referred to as medical negligence.
If this negligence can be connected to injuries or losses that the patient has faced, then and only then do you have a medical malpractice case on your hands.
To reiterate: if a doctor made a mistake but it would not be considered negligent, a person wouldn’t succeed in bringing a case against them. Even if they were truly negligent if the patient didn’t face any losses due to this negligence the case would be unsuccessful.
2. How Is A Case Brought Forward?
Does the above sound like the situation you currently find yourself in? If you’ve faced pain, injury or any kind of financial loss due to the actions of a doctor, you may have a case on your hands. But what do you do next?
You should speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to review the details of your case and confirm, yes, that you do have what is needed. They will look over your medical records, talk to your friends and family, and speak to other medical professionals.
These attorneys have a very solid sense of what actions would be considered below the reasonable level of medical care. They know this because they’ve worked on cases similar to yours for years and years.
An attorney will be able to tell you the proper strategy for your case and advise you on how much compensation you might be able to bring home.
The statute of limitations as it pertains to medical malpractice cases differs from state to state. It’s best to speak to a local attorney in your area, as they will know the proper steps in which to bring a case forward.
3. Negotiating A Settlement
When you do bring a case forward, you will likely be put into contact with your healthcare provider’s insurance company. This insurance company has its own team of highly experienced attorneys, and they will be tasked with looking over the details of your case.
An insurance company will be looking to pay out as little money as possible at the end of the day. The sad reality is that this is the only way they can stay in business. You need to present a rock-solid case and prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your injuries or losses were the results of medical negligence.
If you can do this, the insurance company will likely try to settle with you out of court. Most medical malpractice cases are actually settled out of court, and few pass all the way to the courtroom. It’s important not to get trigger happy when it comes to negotiating with these insurance companies, however.
Often, an insurance company will try to low-ball you on their initial offer or offers. This is a way of seeing if you know the true value of your case, or if you’ll be willing to accept whatever they offer. An attorney can help you find the true value of your case and ensure you don’t settle for less than you really deserve.
Bringing A Malpractice Suit Against Doctors
Bringing a malpractice suit against doctors can be quite complicated.
There are a lot of elements that need to have sufficient evidence in order to win such a case. It’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side if you hope to win. You also need to ensure you don’t take a settlement that is below what you deserve.
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