If you suffered injuries or became sick due to negligent or improper conduct by a medical professional, you might have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. It is essential to follow the right steps in filing your claim or lawsuit. Any missteps along the way have the potential to undermine your chances of getting the damages you deserve. A properly planned medical malpractice claim can result in a significant settlement.
The attorneys at Newsome | Melton know how to file for medical malpractice. Our team can help with your claim. Call 1-855-MED-ASKS today for a free legal consultation about your case. We assist clients all over the United States.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in My State?
The statute of limitations refers to the length of time you have to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. It can vary from as short as one year to as long as 10 years for certain injuries.
Some states also have discovery laws. This means the statute of limitations clock starts from the date you discovered your injury or illness rather than the date the malpractice occurred. This can make a drastic difference if, say, the effects of a botched surgical procedure did not appear for a year or longer.
It is best to speak with an attorney as soon as you suspect malpractice may have occurred. A medical malpractice lawyer can determine your local laws, review your case, advise you of the applicable statute of limitations, and make certain you do not let any important deadlines pass.
Should I Contact the Medical Professional and the Licensing Board?
This step is optional and may or may not be a good idea, depending on your situation. If your damages are minor and you want to avoid a legal battle, taking your complaints directly to the doctor who you suspect of malpractice or the licensing board that regulates the doctor’s ability to practice may offer an alternative method to resolve your case.
Sometimes a doctor or medical provider, fearing the financial, professional, and reputational damage that would result from a malpractice lawsuit, will offer compensation to a patient who comes forward alleging medical negligence or mistreatment. At the very least, the doctor might offer to compensate you for the cost of having the problem treated.
The licensing board can similarly put pressure on the medical provider, either through disciplinary action or a warning, though it generally cannot directly force the doctor to offer you compensation.
If your damages are significant, we recommend you hire a lawyer. Your attorney will probably speak to the doctor or licensing board at some point, but will likely advise you not to do so.
Do I Need to Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
A medical malpractice attorney can handle your claim and seek full damages on your behalf. Before your attorney can file a lawsuit in certain states, you must submit something known as a certificate of merit. This form certifies that a medical expert, usually another doctor or medical professional, has reviewed your medical records and other evidence and believes that malpractice did indeed occur. This expert must be willing to testify that your doctor failed to uphold the standard of care in your case.
Your attorney also works to compile other forms of evidence that bolster your case. This might include:
- Your medical records;
- Expert witness testimony;
- The doctor’s disciplinary history;
- Photo and video evidence; and
- Interviews with staff members at the facility where the malpractice occurred.
With the help of your attorney, you can decide whether you want to file a lawsuit right away or put pressure on the doctor or medical facility to agree to an out-of-court settlement. Each method has pros and cons.
Should I Settle My Case or Go to Trial?
Most medical malpractice cases end with an out-of-court settlement. This is because the legal process can be long, expensive, and time-consuming. Many victims and their attorneys are not confident they will receive any more compensation by going to trial.
Every case is different, though. If yours is strong and your damages are significant, it might be worth it to go to trial. Your attorney can guide you through your options and help you determine which is the most advantageous option. The final decision is ultimately yours.
How Do I Schedule a Free Consultation With an Attorney?
The medical malpractice legal team at Newsome | Melton has helped many victims win significant settlements. We can put our resources to work for you. We offer free consultations to answer your questions and review your claim.
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