What is the First Step in Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Medical malpractice claims always represent an unhappy situation. Delayed diagnosis or mishandled surgery, improper medications dispensed or symptoms missed entirely, they all involve a person who has suffered some harm as a result of somebody else’s medical mistake.

If you believe that you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, your first step is to gather all of your pertinent information and meet with an experienced attorney who can tell you whether you actually have a case.

Many people believe that any medical procedure or appointment that goes wrong represents a possible lawsuit, but that isn’t the case. From a legal perspective, doctors and other medical professionals are allowed to make mistakes. In order for a case to rise to the level of malpractice, you need to be able to prove a few important points:

  • That there was an actual and professional doctor/patient relationship in which the patient was owed a duty of care. A casual comment from the physician next door at the neighborhood barbeque doesn’t qualify.
  • That the healthcare provider with whom you have a professional relationship failed to provide the care that would reasonably be expected of another healthcare provider faced with the same situation.
  • That you suffered actual harm or damages as a result of negligence on the part of the medical provider. This can be monetary, physical, or emotional.
  • That the failure to provide the level of care expected was the direct cause of the harm that you suffered.

To help your attorney determine whether you are eligible to proceed with a legal claim, gather all medical records, including receipts, records of medical appointments, and any notes that you may have taken regarding conversations with your healthcare provider.

An experienced personal injury attorney will ask you questions and review the specifics of your situation to assess whether it meets these requirements. They may consult with healthcare providers to determine whether the standard of care was met by your healthcare provider, and with other experts to evaluate the compensatory value of the damages that you’ve suffered. These additional voices will be crucial as expert witnesses in supporting your case if you decide to move forward to court.

If you and your attorney believe that you have a valid claim, your attorney will prepare all of the necessary documents for filing a claim. Be aware that many of these cases never make it into a court room: they are frequently resolved through out-of-court settlements and negotiations that take place between your attorney and the medical provider or their insurance company.

Your attorney will help you navigate these decisions, providing you with the benefit of their experience and legal knowledge. To set up a time to talk about what happened to you or your loved one, contact us today.