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Everything You Need To Know Before Filing a Medical Lawsuit


No one wants to be in a position where they need to file a medical lawsuit. However, while getting treated, you or someone you know may face neglect. Therefore, it is not only your legal right but your duty to hold the hospital accountable. But, you need to be clear about the kind of lawsuit you'll be filing. Not everything comes under malpractice. If you file out of pure whim, you may accidentally submit a fraudulent case.


So, when you have proof and a solid case at hand, don't hesitate to reach towards the law. As a plaintiff, there are few aspects you need to worry about. Once you make sure you hit all the prerequisites, you'll be able to appear in court. In some instances, you may even file for a settlement instead of a trial. However, that will be decided by the court depending on the extent of the neglect. So, before you decide to dive in headfirst, make sure you know everything about filing a lawsuit:


  1. Get Yourself A Lawyer

You can't go into a courtroom without a lawyer in your corner. While hiring a medical malpractice lawyer is expensive, it is crucial for your case. A medical malpractice lawyer knows how to represent you in court. You should expect a brutal defense. For example, if you're filing for a mesothelioma cancer case. You need legal help since no company will readily accept the claim. Law cases also have tons of paperwork. You may not know the legal language and may mess up while writing a statement. In addition, you may not know how to approach the defendant's insurance company. So, pool in money and get yourself the best legal representation.

  1. Did The Doctor Fail To Provide Care?

As a patient, you deserve your doctor's time and care. If the doctor fails to give you attention, it is a failure on their part. If you were in the hospital and not administered help, that is a failure on their part. The best way you can prove failure to provide care is through medical records. Did the doctor bother giving you a discharge sheet? Were you still sick after you got home? Were there any follow-ups? The devil is in the details. You are allowed to hold your doctor accountable for everything they did or did not do for you. If the doctor did not inform you about the complete details of your case, you get to hold them accountable. Withholding information is also malpractice. A doctor cannot obtain your informed consent if you don't have all the information.


  1. Identify All Breaches

Breaching of duty includes numerous factors. The doctor failed to prescribe the medicine that you need. The wrong amount of dosage is getting administered to you. Your bandages are not getting changed as frequently as possible. Messy stitches that do nothing for the wound. Excessive bleeding due to inferior incisions. All of these and more come under breach of duty. If you're coming in for a routine checkup and get more medicines than you need, that is also a breach. Doctors cannot ignore your primary diagnosis and medical history.


  1. Injuries You Sustained

It would help if you showed in court what injuries you got. The injuries need to be different from what you went to the hospital for. While filing for a medical lawsuit, injuries is an umbrella term. The court will consider any harm you sustained from the hospital as an injury. These are your deteriorating mental health, wounds, loss of limbs, and even disability. If you suffered immense financial loss because of these injuries, bring them to court. Make sure you have records of why you went to the hospital in the first place. If you have concrete proof that you went to the hospital completely intact, the case can roll in your favor.


  1. Credible Witness

You need people to vouch for your case. Apart from friends and family who know why you were going to the hospital, it would help if you had the medical staff. Doctors won't testify against their colleagues, so your lawyer's connections will come in handy. Medical personnel is necessary to testify that the injuries you have are due to medical negligence. Medical personnel can further argue that you wouldn't get these injuries in the hands of a competent doctor. Witnesses can also include nurses who admitted you to the hospital. These nurses write your medical charts as well as the time you came into the hospital. So without a compilation of solid evidence along with witnesses, you may not get anywhere with your case. Another critical piece of evidence is your bank statements. On record, there needs to be a claim that you paid for all the treatments and didn't receive any.


  1. Statute Of Limitation

You cannot file every legal case anytime, as there are legal limitations. You need to know how your state defines these limitations. For example, the standard deadline for filing a claim is two years. However, the deadline can increase or decrease according to state laws. There are also exceptions to the regulation. The legal system takes into account that not all malpractice cases are straightforward. Some malpractice cases take time to get understood. For example, your doctor's malpractice may show up years down the line in the form of an injury. If you were a minor when you got injured, you have a different set of rules. If the prosecutor passed before a claim, the law also takes that into account. Your best guide for understanding deadlines is your lawyer. So, always go for a consultation before you launch your case.


  1. Submitting Certificate Of Merit

Suppose you have all your bearings in order. That still doesn't mean your case is ready for a trial. You need to submit a certificate of merit. Before any court can take up any case, it needs to get reviewed. That means the statements you offer will get reviewed by the medical board. If a physician can confirm the validity of your case, you will head to trial. In addition, the defendants also get issued a notice to respond. If they push for a settlement instead of a trial, you will get notified. Till both parties are on the same page, the case will not proceed. So make sure you prepare your stance with your lawyer. You should know how much settlement money you want out of the case. In case of a trial, see how you want to proceed.

Wrap Up

The legal system is here to help you. However, before it can do that, there are some prerequisites you need to fulfill. These include knowing the process behind filing a claim. Medical lawsuits are nasty for a hospital's reputation. So, if you're going to hold a doctor accountable, make sure you're doing it with a concrete case. The defense will not go easy on you. But, with a good lawyer, you should be ready to counter all their claims. You need to ensure you have all your paperwork in order. These include all bank statements, medical charts, and witness statements. Don't forget to build a proper certificate of merit statement and pay heed to all the deadlines. If you can pinpoint where the breaches happened and their impact, the case may roll in your favor. 


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