Medical malpractice is a serious event that can affect yourself and your family for a long time. According to Julian Sanders, a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, Beyond loss of income, victims may require full-time caregivers and/or expensive medical care throughout the rest of their life. If you have been affected by medical malpractice, you may be wondering where to begin. Here are the first steps to beginning a medical malpractice suit.
Contact the Medical Professional Involved
Before you even begin to file a suit, you will want to contact the medical professional involved in your potential medical malpractice suit. This will help you clarify what procedures were performed, what may have gone wrong, and whether that mistake might be remedied. In many cases the medical professional may even be willing to perform a procedure at low or no cost in order to remedy the situation and avoid embarrassing and costly legal repercussions.
Contact the Medical Licensing Board
If contacting the medical professional involved doesn't work, contacting the medical licensing board that oversees them is a good next step. While medical licensing boards do not generally have the authority to force a medical professional to treat you, they will be able to issue warnings or discipline, help you determine your next steps, and establish a paper trail that will be invaluable if you do end up taking legal action.
Get a Medical Assessment
A number of states require a certificate of merit before you file a medical malpractice lawsuit. A certificate of merit of a medical assessment from a neutral party, usually another physician, that determines that your injuries were a result of negligence on the part of your medical care provider. Your attorney will need to file the certificate of merit when beginning your case, so it is best to get it done before you find an attorney and begin paying them.
Consider Out-Of-Court Settlement
Medical malpractice cases can be time consuming and costly, which is why most such cases are settled out of court. In addition, because insurance companies reject a large number of medical malpractice claims, it may be in your best interest to settle out-of-court or risk having no case at all. Keep in mind, however, that if you believe you have a strong case, then you should seek a larger settlement.
Find the Right Attorney
There are a large number of attorneys who handle medical malpractice suits. Some may specialize in a particular type of medical malpractice, such as medical malpractice from surgery, while others may work more generally. Some may be more expensive than others. In trying to find an attorney, it is always important to look into their record and testimonials to ensure that you get the highest quality of representation possible within your budget.
Go to Court
In the course of going to court over a medical malpractice suit, you should be aware of a few things going in. There is a high probability that you will be asked many questions, some of them highly invasive, about your medical history and other personal details. Your lawyer should be able to help you prep for these questions, but you should not be surprised by the possibility of them. In addition, going to court can be a mentally exhausting and stressful experience. Be sure to take care of yourself and your mental and physical health no matter how stressed you are over the medical malpractice suit.
Medical malpractice is always unfortunate when it happens, but it needn't be the end of the story. By following these steps on how to start a medical malpractice suit, you will be prepared to hold your physician or other medical provider responsible for giving you the high quality care that you deserve.