Suing for Malpractice: When You Should & How to Do it

Healthcare & Insurance

When something goes wrong with your medical care or the outcome of a procedure is not the one that was expected, some people investigate how to sue a doctor to recover compensation for their injuries and damages. However, not every treatment error is a good candidate for a medical malpractice case.

A 2016 report published in the BMJ, shows that medical errors in hospitals and other health-care facilities may now be the third-leading cause of death in the United States, causing at least 250,000 deaths every year. “Throughout the world, medical error leading to patient death is an under-recognized epidemic,” reports the paper’s lead author, Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

If you’re wondering what constitutes a medical malpractice suit and what’s needed to move forward with a lawsuit against a doctor — here a few medical malpractice basics that are important to know when you’re thinking about how to sue your doctor.

How to Sue a Doctor and When

A number of situations can lead to a medical malpractice claim — from a doctor making an error during an operation to failing to warn a patient of side effects from a prescribed medication.  However, with most personal injury cases, you must have suffered actual damages as a direct result of negligence of your doctor in order to have a legit medical malpractice suit.

In fact, because malpractice suits are usually very high risk and require a significant financial investment and time commitment, many medical malpractice lawyers will only consider claims that involve serious injuries such as loss of a limb, disfigurement, paralysis, impairment of a bodily function or death.

Keep Records 

Medical malpractice is often proven through important medical records and personal accounts. Make sure you keep careful records of everything your doctor told you about diagnosis, treatment and medication and of any side effects or problems you may have experienced. You should also keep records of any money or work lost as a result of the doctor’s negligence. Also, if you are suing for pain and suffering damages as well, you should also keep a detailed log of the suffering you endured throughout the process.

Find An Unbiased Opinion

Doctors are just like everyone else, so it’s inevitable that they make mistakes – but because medicine can be subjective, some suggest to present your case to other doctors who can determine whether your doctor behaved properly or not. According NOLO, a medical malpractice suit can be strengthened if other medical professionals can back up your claim that your doctor acted improperly.

How to Prove A Doctor’s Negligence

Being unsatisfied with your treatment or results does not always mean the doctor is liable for medical malpractice — they must have been negligent in connection with your diagnosis or treatment.

According to experts, a crucial step in how to sue a doctor includes being able to show that the doctor caused you harm in a way that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have. “The ‘standard of care’ is defined as what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances,” explains Virginia-based attorney Jason Konvicka to Forbes.

Contacting an Attorney for Medical Malpractice

If you think you have enough damage and proof to sue your doctor, your next step would be to contact a medical malpractice attorney. Usually medical malpractice cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, where the attorney usually fronts your legal expenses which are then deducted from any settlement or award from the suit. For this reason, an attorney may require that your case is enough to justify the risk and extreme financial and time requirements involved.

Copy courtesy of Saludmovil*

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