If you have already made up your mind about filing a claim for medical malpractice, be prepared to deal with several complex procedures. Depending on your state, there may be varied and complex expert requirements, jurisdictional requirements, and pre-suit filings. Seeking assistance from a medical malpractice attorney can be extremely useful for your peace of mind as well as the outcome of your claim.
Mentioned below are the steps you should follow for a successful medical malpractice claim.
Consult an Attorney Immediately:
The foremost requirement in these cases is to file the case before the expiry of the statute of limitations. In some of the jurisdictions that are more lenient, the statutes are calculated from the time of discovery of the injury. In case of the stricter jurisdictions, the time starts as soon as the malpractice is committed. To make sure that your case is filed within the required timeframe, an attorney can be extremely useful.
Depending on the place of filing the case, you may have to meet certain pre-suit requirements before filing the case. These requirements may include review boards, medical expert affidavits, notices of intent, and more. Inability to meet any of these complex procedural requirements may even lead to dismissal of the case.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney routinely handles all the essential procedures and has the know-how to get your case filed in a highly professional and timely manner.
Obtain Copies of Medical Records:
When it comes to any medical malpractice case, the best evidence you can provide are medical records. The contents of these records have a direct impact on the outcome of the case. Get started on this by requesting a copy of all medical records immediately.
If you can provide these copies to your attorney promptly, he or she will be able to analyze the case thoroughly and solicit opinions from medical experts, nurses, and doctors that may help your case by becoming expert witnesses. Please remember that after analyzing all your records, your attorney may discourage you from filing a case if he or she feels that your damages are not related to any malpractice.
Notify Appropriate Insurance Companies:
It often helps to send a prior notification to the insurance companies or hospitals about a potential suit. In some instances, such notices may trigger an internal review resulting in an acceptable settlement without even filing a suit. The support of your lawyer can be extremely important here because his or her presence will not allow the claims professionals to take a hard line over the case.
Comply with Pre-Suit Requirements:
As mentioned earlier, medical malpractice cases in certain states have notice requirements. Most of the laws for pre-suit notification require expert support in some form. It can be an affidavit or sworn statement on the standard of appropriate medical care that has been claimed to have been violated, causing the injury.
This requirement clearly indicates that your case may not even be allowed to proceed if the same is not supported from the outset by a doctor. The objective of the states is to keep a check on the number of medical malpractice cases by eliminating the frivolous ones.
File the Complaint:
The final step for you is to draft the complaint and file the same. This is a formal recitation of all your allegations against a hospital and /or one or more doctors. The lawsuit begins after the submission of the complaint.