Medical negligence can cause serious physical and emotional scars. Patients that resort to medical malpractice lawsuits to receive some form of compensation for these will find that the legal road is full of many bureaucratic road blocks that can prove to be rather daunting. To make matters worse, some cases can drag on for years, forcing patients to relive the ordeal of loss again and again. However, depending on the type of damages and evidence that point in the patient’s favor, it is possible to receive financial compensation, corrective operations, or both.
The Work of a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Added to these challenges are the numerous complexities that make medical malpractice lawsuits difficult to award in the complainant’s favor. This is why it is important that a competent medical malpractice lawyer is hired to ensure that all necessary procedures and evidence gathering are followed before the case reaches court. The lawyer will assess the compensation being sought for issues related to, but are not limited to: disability, physical distress, mental uneasiness, medical costs resulting from negligence, and loss of livelihood and consortium. The amount of compensatory damages received will depend on state laws and whether the medical professional’s actions can be proven to be malicious, willful, or wanton. Some states establish limits that can be paid for medical malpractice lawsuits, so it is important that you know how much you are likely to receive and any expenses you’ll need to cover to bring the case before a judge.
It is also important to assess and identify who is at fault. If the patient provides misleading information and the medical professional acted on it, then it will be difficult to receive any type of compensation for damages. In many medical malpractice lawsuits it can be the doctor, nurses, technicians or medical staff that is mentioned in the lawsuit. Depending on the case, all medical professionals that dealt with the patient prior to medical malpractice can be held responsible for their actions. There are also instances in which the medical institution itself could be questioned to determine whether it acted in an ethically responsible manner to its medical staff. The institution can be questioned about any background checks it has performed, as well as whether it has any previous medical malpractice lawsuits with its professionals. If it can be proven the institution has been negligent in performing its duty to adequately screen professionals and take the necessary disciplinary measures, then a lawsuit can also be filed against it.
If the professional in question has their own practice, the steps involved follow the same line. Your lawyer will have to prove that the physician committed a violation and that the doctor-patient relationship makes them responsible for the damages the patient sustained. It must be pointed out that all types of medical treatments and surgeries involve some medical risks. That said, your case will be carefully analyzed to assess whether you have a viable claim that constitute compensation for medical malpractice. If it is proven that the plaintiff’s injury is a result of his own act or negligence, then there is no valid case. The medical malpractice lawyer must also prove in both cases that the injury in question was in the defendant’s exclusive control and could have been prevented.
Statute of Limitations and Barriers
You must also be aware of the statute of limitations that apply to your specific lawsuit. This statute is governed by the state, and will determine the timeframe in which you must file the malpractice lawsuit to ensure that you case appears before a judge. The statute of limitations varies from state to state and can start on the date the injury is discovered or on the date it occurred. If you go beyond these timeframes then you risk the chance of not having a valid case.
The emotional barriers of shame and shock often hinder patients from filing their lawsuits in time. These emotions also prevent these victims from seeking a lawyer, and they are often left feeling that they are to blame. However, it is important to bring your case before a trustworthy medical malpractice lawyer the moment you detect that you are a victim of negligence.
Who Can File Suit
The patient is not the only complainant that can be considered in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Anyone that is directly associated with the patient and that may have suffered losses can also file a lawsuit. This is especially common in cases where the patient in question dies, or has become physically impaired and comes to depend on the continual emotional and physical support of friends and family. Anyone else affected by the incident may also be entitled to some form of compensation if it can be proven.
A company or professional that is serious about protecting their image will seek to bring closure to a medical malpractice lawsuit as quickly as possible. In some instances, compensation can be settled outside of court. However, it is also possible that the case can drag on for years, depending on the losses involved and the resistance of the defendant.
Choosing a Medical Malpractice Attorney
When choosing an attorney, it is important that only those with a small case load are taken into consideration. It is also equally important to ensure that they are focused exclusively on medical malpractice law and have the necessary experience to assess if you have a valid case. Some medical malpractice attorneys are also physicians and certified professionals that can determine whether negligence really occurred or if the court is likely to rule in the other party’s favor.