If you're thinking about contacting a medical malpractice law firm, you're probably also wondering what the basics of pursuing your case will likely be. Let's take a look at what you should know before you submit a claim or commence a lawsuit.
Common Forms of Medical Malpractice
Unsurprisingly, a medical malpractice lawyer will see a lot of different kinds of cases over their career. Errors are among the most common problems that show up in malpractice claims. For example, a doctor might fail to diagnose a disorder or misdiagnose it as something else. Errors can occur in prescribing medications or performing anesthesia, such as using the wrong drugs or providing dangerous doses.
Surgery is also a frequent source of medical malpractice claims. A surgeon might, for example, use a procedure that has been considered outdated for years. Similar issues can arise if the doctors and the attending staff don't take appropriate precautions to prevent infections. There have also been cases of medical items, such as clamps and sponges, being left in people's bodies and causing abscesses.
A Provable Injury or Disorder
It's not enough that the staff or the doctors screwed up. You might just win the medical luck lottery and not develop any issues, meaning you probably won't have a claim.
Generally, the law wants to see sufficient damages to justify an insurance claim or a suit. This means dealing with a problem that requires additional treatment, surgery, physical therapy, medication, or medical devices to get under control. The costs you might incur while addressing those concerns represent potentially recoverable damages in a case.
Some states allow recovery of damages exclusively for pain and suffering, but this varies a lot. In such states, certain psychological issues from treatment may also be seen as medical malpractice.
Filing a Claim
Compared to other forms of injury law, the filing requirements for malpractice claims can be a little unusual. In a typical injury case, you have a couple of years after an incident occurs. With malpractice, the clock doesn't usually start until you find out there's a problem.
Once the clock on a case begins, you'll need to send formal notice to the alleged at-fault parties. This will include informing them that you want medical records preserved for discovery if a lawsuit is necessary. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you put together the paperwork required to properly notify a defendant that a claim is coming.