Medical malpractice is a touchy subject. Proponents of this kind of lawsuit say that those who are injured should have a path to compensation. Opponents say that medical malpractice cases make it less likely a doctor will come forward when a mistake has been made — making further injury even more likely. Doctors who speak up should not have to fear retribution, they say. We say that the caregivers have less to worry about than the patients.
What should you know about a potential medical malpractice lawsuit. As much as you can. First, it’s a major cause of death! The Journal of the American Medical Association says that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Considering that heart disease and cancer are the first and second leading causes of death, it says a lot about our society.
First, medical malpractice cases are notoriously difficult to build and maintain. Not only do you have to prove that you were injured because of the decisions of your healthcare provider, but you also have to prove that the standard of care you received was lower than the standard of care that everyone else receives. That’s not an easy task.
You can make it easier for your personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer by writing everything down. Take copious notes on your situation from beginning until end, and be sure to keep adequate documentation of medical bills, procedures performed, advice of the doctors, etc.
State laws differ from one another, so if you live outside New York, check with your lawyer to determine how the statute of limitations is determined. Your lawyer will also determine whether or not you have a case. The devil is in the details — so don’t leave any out when discussing your medical history and current records.
If you haven’t been the victim of medical malpractice, then you may simply be worried about a future hospital stay. No surprise there. Be sure that you understand your medical condition fully. Don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider questions. When one of your questions has not been answered to your satisfaction, find a second opinion — or even a third. This is your life. Don’t take it for granted.
The number one reason that a patient decides not to move forward with a medical malpractice claim is the fear of retribution. But you don’t have to worry that accusing one doctor of malpractice will result in the refusal of other doctors to take you on as a patient. Your claim also won’t have any bearing on the cost of the care you receive. That’s why you should always make a claim if you have a valid claim to make!