When you get into any doctor’s office, you may have several reasons to be there. However, all these will amount to one huge reason… You either want a solution to a health problem or you are seeking ways to improve your overall health. The last thing anyone would want to imagine is coming out of that doctor’s appointment with your health worse than it was before, but it does happen. In many cases, it is caused by medical errors such as misdiagnosis, wrong prescription, and medical negligence in the surgery room!
When certain that you suffered harm or injury in the hands of a negligent medical practitioner, you could be looking at a medical malpractice case. Nonetheless, these cases are quite complex, not forgetting that doctors are among the most legally protected professionals on the planet. But still, that doesn’t give them the right to go around misdiagnosing patients, treating them for the wrong ailments, or being sloppy in their jobs. The law protects patients as much as it protects healthcare professionals. In a nutshell, here are four things you probably didn’t know about medical malpractice cases.
1. They Can Be Quite Complex
When you seek treatment from a certain doctor or healthcare facility, it is assumed that your health and safety are in the hands of the handling professionals. According to the law, the attending doctors, nurses, and pharmacists owe you a duty of care. But your health and safety could be jeopardized if the medical professionals do not observe the set standards of care. This often leads to medical injuries to patients.
The good thing is that each country or state has specific guidelines on standards to be adhered to by medical professionals. If you suffered harm at the hands of a negligent healthcare professional in D.C. a medical malpractice attorney in Washington can help you seek compensation. Medical malpractice cases are often marred by complexities, but an experienced attorney can help you navigate them.
They can help you seal the gaps caused by your pain and suffering, including financial loss from medical bills, missed time from work, and emotional suffering. Having a seasoned lawyer by your side can help prove medical negligence even in the most unapparent cases.
2. A Doctor-Patient Relationship Must Exist
Most medical malpractice lawsuits are filed against practicing physicians. For your claim to be considered valid, you and your legal team are required to provide evidence that a doctor-patient relationship existed before the victim was hurt. In other words, it is easier to sue a doctor who knows your medical history or has attended to you for a while.
However, this shouldn’t mean that you can’t seek compensation for medical malpractice that happened in your first visit to a certain doctor. Also, documentation such as medical bills, receipts, reports, prescriptions might be required by the court or the medical malpractice insurance company when seeking compensation for your medical injury. The latter is also sometimes called professional indemnity or professional liability insurance depending on who you ask.
3. They Affect Both In-Patient and Outpatient Individuals
Not many people may know this, but you don’t have to have been admitted to a healthcare facility to file a medical malpractice compensation claim. It is neither restricted to in-patient or outpatient visits. Nonetheless, about 45 percent of medical malpractice cases are filed by inpatients, whereas 38 percent come from outpatient visits according to an HCP Live report from 2014. The same report continues to reveal that anyone can suffer a medical injury, including practicing physicians and their loved ones.
Would you hesitate to seek justice against your fellow medical practitioner if their negligence caused injury to you or your kin? That’s something to sit back for, and let it sink in!
4. Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Filing Deadline
Just like in many other civil suits, a medical malpractice claim must adhere to the provisions of the statute of limitations in the respective state or country. In the United States, you are generally required to make the claims within two years of discovering that your injuries (or those of the patient you represent) stemmed from medical negligence or malpractice.
Also, this should not exceed four years from the date the malpractice occurred, regardless of when you became aware of it. In a nutshell, you need to file your claim:
- Within two years of identifying malpractice as the cause of harm
- Within four years from the date when the said malpractice actually occurred
If you do not satisfy these limitations, there are higher chances that the claim could be denied, and the exceptions are minimal.
Finally, there is also something known as speculative damages, which could be recovered where a patient is proactive enough to seek a second opinion and get help as soon as they can before (more or any) harm is suffered. Moreover, medical malpractice cases could also turn into wrongful death suits, where their surviving members seek justice on their behalf. These and other issues like suicide, conflict of interest, and miscarriage are just a few of the many more reasons to work with a decorated attorney when seeking compensation in a medical malpractice case.
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