You trusted your doctor to make you healthy but his mistake left you seriously ill. Your bills are piling up and you’ve missed tons of work. Now you don’t know whether you can keep doing your job. You’ve tried over and over again to get someone to listen. Now it’s time to hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. She’ll take care of the thousand details involved in your case and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Unfortunately, doctors are human and make mistakes. A report from the federal government in 1999 estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die in hospitals alone every year as a result of medical negligence. That’s not counting the other types of medical offices and doesn’t include people who didn’t die but were injured. That’s a whole lot of people and you are one of them. A medical malpractice case is a lawsuit against doctors and other medical workers who make such errors.
How do you know if you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice? Sometimes it is obvious, like a situation where the wrong leg was amputated. Other times it takes some investigation to find out exactly what happened. Filing a lawsuit allows your attorney to dig through the evidence and find out who was responsible for your injury. In order to unearth the facts you’ll probably end up including the hospital or doctor’s office, the doctor, and any nurses or other staff that came into contact with you in your law suit. You can file a malpractice lawsuit even if you signed a consent form for treatment. But be aware that the form may have included language agreeing to arbitration or other means of dealing with any problems out of court. Your attorney will know how to handle such issues.
If you’ve tried to get satisfaction you are probably already overwhelmed trying to deal with doctors, the hospital, insurance companies and their attorneys. You need someone who is an expert at dealing with these people to handle this for you. Your attorney will know what is fair and will not be intimidated by any one. But time is of the essence since there is a time limit on filing a suit. Find an attorney who is licensed to practice in your state and has a long career dealing with medical malpractice cases. Ask for details about how many of their cases are settled, how many get dismissed and how many go to trial A good attorney will really listen to your story and ask a lot of questions. She’ll make sure you understand what to expect and how she will be paid. Watch out for slick lawyers who brag about how much they’ll get for you before they’ve heard your story.
Once a suit is filed there is a period of time called discovery where each side tracks down the available evidence and witnesses. This also helps your lawyer figure out what kind of damages you incurred. Expect to hand over all of your medical records and for the other side to have access to them. You’ll probably see one or more medical experts hired by your attorney to assess your injuries. There will also most likely be a deposition, which is a formal interview under oath where your attorney and the attorney for the other side have a chance to ask you questions. All of this takes time. Even if your case is settled before trial, this could be a long road.
Your doctor had a duty to heal, not hurt you. Because he made serious mistakes you have been injured and need him to make good. You need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on your side. Even though you want to move on with your life, a lawsuit takes time. The more people involved and the more complications the longer it will take. Your attorney will take care of the hard part so you can start putting the pieces back together.