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

Medical malpractice claims are filed against healthcare providers – whether a physician, a facility like a hospital, or supporting professional personnel — when that individual or entity is believed to have been negligent in their treatment and that negligence resulted in real damage. The law requires that specific elements be established in order to win a medical malpractice claim, and the best way to be sure that your situation meets those standards is to meet with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Though different jurisdictions have different rules regarding the timing of filing a medical malpractice claim, all of these cases must meet certain criteria surrounding evidence and testimony in support of your case.

To assist your attorney, begin by collecting all medical records pertinent to your case. This is something that you can do on your own, or you may need to sign a release that allows your attorney to request and receive those personal records. Once your attorney has these documents, they will understand what led up to your injury, as well as who the medical professionals are that handled your case and therefore will need to be questioned about your care. This input will be reviewed by medical experts who will assess whether the people involved acted in a way that is in keeping with the standard of care. This is essential to establishing whether negligence occurred.

In some instances, a healthcare provider or facility will offer to settle a case out of court instead of going through litigation. Your attorney will act as your representative to both the defendants named in your claim and to their insurance companies. If you are contacted by these entities, you should immediately refer them to your attorney. It is important that you not speak with them, negotiate on your own behalf, or sign any releases without your attorney’s guidance and advice.

If a settlement is not possible, your attorney will draft and file a complaint against those who were negligent. Medical malpractice claims are civil rather than criminal cases. They result in monetary damages, which are meant to compensate you for the losses that you have suffered. This is usually a combination of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Punitive damages may also be assessed if the court determines that the defendant was reckless or malicious.

For information about whether you are eligible to file a medical malpractice claim, contact us today to set up a time to chat.