Before embarking on a journey of research, understanding, and action, it is prudent to know your legal rights. The law has your interests at heart, and attorneys are on your side to guide you through the labyrinth of legal activities.
Below are some areas that may interest you.
HIPPA Privacy and Security Laws
This is a federal law that protects your privacy, including medical records. HIPPA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law states that medical providers cannot talk about your medical history in any way to anybody. This includes insurance companies, unless you sign a waiver.
This act protects patients and doctors. Doctors may share this information only with those to whom you give permission.
Statute of Limitations
Most individuals involved in a lawsuit want it handled in a timely manner. To keep cases from lingering long after the event, states have put in place a limit on the time a claimant has to file a medical malpractice suit. This is the Statute of Limitations, and the time varies in each state. Most states allow a claimant two years to file a claim for medical malpractice.
Board Action Versus Medical Malpractice
When dealing with a malpractice lawsuit, you will learn that there are legal and regulatory differences between the state medical board and the legal proceeding of a malpractice lawsuit.
In most states, the medical board hears a formal complaint about the actions of a doctor, medical associate, or staff. The board then scrutinizes the event that triggered the complaint. When the board finds sufficient confirmation to support the complaint, the board may hold a formal hearing.
After hearing testimony from the physician and medical entities, the board analyzes the evidence and the board may take action.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Awards
The amount of an award you may receive from a medical malpractice lawsuit is governed in part by the state’s tort reform laws. Tort reforms are changes to the civil justice system that intend to reduce the capability of victims to bring litigation or decrease the damages they can receive.
Tort law is an attempt to balance the objectives of the patient who may have been damaged by medical negligence and the motivations of the doctors or medical professionals involved in the incident.
Concept of Respondeat Superior
Respondeat Superior is a Latin term meaning “Let the master answer” and is also known as the Master-Servant Rule. This phrase comes into play with medical malpractice when someone can prove that an employer or hospital can be liable for the actions of doctors or other medical staff.
The liability happens if the damage or harm caused occurred during an employee’s work shift and while performing normal duties. This concept is important during medical malpractice cases because it demonstrates that the court can hold the medical institution financially responsible.
Federal Tort Claims Act and Military Malpractice
This Federal Tort Claims Act limits how much money military members can pursue after suffering a loss due to medical malpractice. Before taking on a military malpractice case by filing a suit against the government, the law requires the claimant to first file an administrative claim against the agency he or she believes caused the damage.
Medical Malpractice Arbitration
Many patients and providers of healthcare have been respecting the outcomes of arbitration in settling a case. This is in contrast with the traditional complaint and trial method of settlement. Claimants often feel that arbitration is less time-consuming, less costly, and fair compared to the time-honored state court proceedings.
Worker’s Compensation and Malpractice
Work injuries do happen. Most employers carry worker’s compensation insurance against lawsuits employees may bring if they are injured and harmed while at work.
Good Samaritan Laws
Each state has its own form of a Good Samaritan law. The legislation provided by Good Samaritan laws to protect an individual who offers to assist in an emergency situation. The intent is to allow an individual to do what is necessary to help in an emergency situation without worrying about subsequent liability for assisting in the emergency.