In recent years, medical errors were the third leading cause of death for Americans. Now, a 2020 study published by JAMA Internal Medicine shows that the number of medical malpractice claims is declining. Yet the declining numbers may not necessarily reflect a reduction in medical malpractice cases, especially since claim payouts have surged despite declining court cases. Many Americans are still incorrectly diagnosed with disorders, or in many cases, unaware that they may be victims of medical malpractice – and just what they can do about it if they suspect a case of medical malpractice.
Speak To An Attorney About Your Legal Options
Each year, over $55.6 billion is spent on medical liability costs – almost 2.4 percent of the country’s entire healthcare spending. With over 250,000 people dealing with medical errors each year, the healthcare and insurance industry faces the formidable task of managing the consequences, including the costs attached to it. This is partly why many healthcare insurance companies are often eager to settle with a patient before the case heads to court and the full extent of injuries are revealed. This is why one of the first steps you should take is to contact a medical malpractice attorney. When choosing an attorney, utilize professional board certification lists and registrars like the list of ABPLA Board Certified Medical Malpractice Attorneys.
While statistics have indicated that many injury attorneys and medical negligence cases end up in no payment unless substantial injuries are recorded, Americans should not be discouraged. Contrary to popular belief, filing a medical negligence case does not increase your medical costs, but it can be an expensive route. Speaking to a qualified and seasoned malpractice attorney can give you some clarity to your options and whether you have a strong case. In addition to seeking the expert advice of a malpractice attorney, be sure to do your homework, such as finding out the statute of limitations when filing a malpractice case in your state and the most recommended lawyers for medical malpractice cases. For instance, in Pennsylvania, there is a two-year statute of limitations on filing a medical malpractice case.
Gather Your Medical Records And Evidence
According to the law in a medical malpractice case, the burden is on the patient to prove the harm that was inflicted on them due to negligence or medical malpractice. This means, to increase the odds of winning a medical negligence case, claimants need to be able to show tangible evidence, demonstrating that the standard of care was compromised and caused their injury. This is where medical records become invaluable. Medical records can support your cause for suing your doctor for negligence like delayed or wrongful diagnosis, childbirth injury, or incorrectly prescribed medication.
In addition to your witness statement on the medical incident, your attorney will ask for copies of any medical records you may have of the procedure, including follow up notes, booking appointments, and prescription copies. This will help to establish the presence of a doctor-patient relationship and the existence of a valid consultation appointment. To prove negligence, the patient must show that they suffered harm or injury as a result of actions by the medical professional. Photographs, financial evidence highlighting remedial medical costs or loss of income, along with reports from medical experts in the field, can help to establish the impact, both short term and long-lasting.
Skip The Venting And Discussion Of Your Case
If you are considering filing a medical negligence case, avoid contact with the intended defendant, as this could jeopardize your case. Disclosing information about your case with the defendant or any third party can impede your chances in court by giving them valuable information they can use against you and your lawyer. Also, avoid posting details on social media or speaking about it to extended family. While many patients are understandably angry and frustrated after a case of medical negligence, it is always best to let your attorney handle the case calmly and professionally.
How Can Patients Reduce Their Likelihood Of Being Medical Negligence Victims?
While the information and resources on pursuing redress for a case of medical negligence are certainly expanding, a more poignant point should be the reduction of patient’s chances of medical negligence overall. This starts with consumers taking on more responsibility and practicing vigilant medical habits when seeking treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your medical professionals or do your research. Seeking a second medical opinion if you are not convinced can also provide some reassurance.
Above all, take the time to be quite clear on your treatment going forward, potential side effects, and alternative treatments. Being armed with as much information as possible puts you in control of your health – and if you do end up considering filing for medical negligence, could help you decide the way forward.