This guest post was written by Joshua Rodriguez, an avid personal finance and legal journalist. Much of the information found in this article was provided by attorney Allen Hammontree of Goddard Hammontree & Bolding, LLC. in Dalton GA.
When we as consumers think of doctors, we often think of highly educated, professional individuals that are here to help us when we are ill. As with any job, doctors have specific guidelines that they need to keep their practices within. Another thing that doctors have in common with all other industries is that there are some good and, of course, some bad doctors out there. However, when a doctor acts in a negligent way, the consumer that visited that doctor may have severe problems down the road. This is why the term “medical malpractice” is around today!
When an auto mechanic does his or her job improperly, yes, it will have an effect on the consumer. However, the effect should not cause any pain or severe hardships. However, when a doctor does not take care of a patient correctly the result can be pain, suffering, long-lasting financial hardship, and more. If you feel as though you are going through a similar situation, you may be considering starting a medical malpractice claim. Below are the steps you should take to do so.
Have A Discussion With The Doctor Associated With The Claim
Before actually filing a claim against any medical professional, one of the first things that you should do is attempt to have a discussion with that doctor to answer a few questions. First off, try and find out what their opinion of your condition is and what may have caused it. Although rare, the doctor may say, “I made a mistake and I’m sorry for that, what’s going on is the result of that mistake.” However, in more common circumstances, they will say something like, “Your pain is being caused by ____, which I think may have been caused by ______.” If the second is the answer you receive, you now know what a portion of or the entire defense the doctor will have against the claim. This can be valuable information as your attorney builds a claim.
Take Action Before Making Your Claim
It’s always a good idea to have a paper trail that follows the experiences you have faced while working with the medical professional. To do so, before filing your claim, you are going to want to make a formal complaint that documents what you believe the wrongdoing is. If your claim is associated with hospital personnel such as doctors, nurses, and the hospital as a whole, it is best for you to write a formal complaint and send it to the hospital itself. If you have a claim against a general practitioner who practices medicine for a doctor’s office or other medical practice, your best option is to write a letter to the office or practice manager. Keep in mind that this is an area where it is important to act fast as in most cases, complaints like this must be filed soon after the incident.
Hire A Medical Malpractice Attorney
Keep in mind that as with any profession, there are great attorneys out there and there are not so great attorneys. So, start by asking your friends and family if they have gone through a similar situation. If so, ask them who their attorney was and how the case unfolded. If they had a good experience, chances are you will to and the same for bad experiences. Next, run a search on Google for medical malpractice or personal injury attorneys. Read the reviews you can find and use the information you find to make an educated decision as to who you would like to work with. The medical malpractice attorney that you hire will walk you through completing the claim process.
It’s important to remember that not every mistake falls under the category of medical negligence. Therefore, before filing your claim, you want to try and come up with evidence of wrongdoing. The evidence must show that your pain, suffering and financial hardship would not have happened without the intervention of the doctor that treated you. Although this may be hard for you to gather on your own, your attorney will help you put together the documents you need. Also, as with just about any case, there is a statute of limitations associated with medical malpractice. To the best of my knowledge, this statute of limitations is two years from the date of the medical negligence. Therefore, it is up to you to act fast when making these kinds of claims.