If you believe you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, one of your first inclinations may be to file a lawsuit, which means you’ll need legal representation. Medical malpractice suits are complicated, they require a legal professional. You probably shouldn’t represent yourself. There are four steps you should take.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you believe you’ve experienced medical malpractice, you should first speak with your physician to ensure that you’re correct. Medicine is complicated and there may be extenuating circumstances of which you’re unaware. Your issue might be resolved without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, but you need to talk to your physician first.
Consult an Attorney
If your physician has not satisfactorily responded to your questions, you need to determine that you do indeed have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. This means you need to consult an attorney who specializes in this field. Each area of law has its unique requirements and laws, so you don’t want to hire a family attorney if you’re seeking medical malpractice remedies. Attorneys typically specialize in certain areas like personal injury cases, medical malpractice, or wrongful death.
Medical malpractice can stem from issues other than surgery so even if you haven’t undergone a surgical procedure, you may still have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. Professionals, like those at Blomberg, Benson & Garrett, know that your attorney will be able to advise you on this. There are time limits on filing and they vary by jurisdiction, so you need to consult an attorney right away.
Obtain Your Medical Records
In order to prove malpractice, you’re going to need copies of all your medical records, both before and after the procedure. This will enable your attorney to document your condition before the procedure, which will verify the damage inflicted. You may need affidavits or sworn statements from individuals not involved in the lawsuit. Sometimes an attorney will obtain these, other times you may need to obtain them. You’ll need another doctor who specializes in the same field to provide expert testimony and possibly a sworn statement. Your attorney will advise you if they need your participation in this.
File Your Claim
The last step in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is to file the claim, and for this you need an attorney. Filing requirements are very complex and can be as specific as the type of font used and the size of the margins on the forms. You need your filing papers to be error-free so that they’re not rejected. Once your lawsuit has been filed, it may be a considerable time before the case comes to trial. Patience may be difficult but it’s the best thing to have during this time.
Try to adjust and improve your life so that it’s the best it can be under the circumstances, then wait for the outcome of the trial. Doctors are human and make mistakes but when their mistakes adversely affect your life, it can be difficult to be patient and understanding. Just be sure to consult with an attorney, don’t try to do this alone.
Author Info: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber.