Hospitals have an essential role to play in the safety and caretaking of their patients. One mishap can cost a patient’s life; this is why a medical practitioner’s work is sensitive and highly delicate. Yet, hospitals experience numerous cases of medical malpractice annually. According to a 2016 survey by the American Medical Association, more than 16% of physicians have faced two or more lawsuits.
As a patient, you’re entitled to certain rights. It includes holding your doctor accountable if they mess up your cause or treat it dismissively. These are known as medical malpractice lawsuits. But why do these legal claims occur? What are they, and how do they work? Find out more below:
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is any instance when the healthcare provider commits an error in your case. There are various varieties of medical negligence, each of which happens when a medical professional deviates from the generally accepted norms of professional practice.
Malpractice in the medical field requires that the patient suffer some kind of harm. This is crucial evidence in malpractice suits.
Some of the most common types of medical negligence can include misdiagnosing your disease, prescribing the wrong medication, showing carelessness in dealing with your injuries, and performing surgery on the wrong part of your body. The definition of this lawsuit extends to birth injuries and neglecting your health as a mother during childbirth.
When a doctor or a nurse commits medical malpractice, they can cause you permanent disabilities that may require lifelong treatment. In extreme cases, their sheer mistreatment may result in death.
How Do You File A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
To launch your case, you need to contact a reputable lawyer specializing in malpractice lawsuits. Before you can file an appeal, an attorney must review your case and ensure that you have a valid claim. It is because only some things that happen in a hospital constitute malpractice.
For instance, if you fall down the stairs while walking because you slipped or wore shoes with no rubber, that’s on you and not the hospital. It is why always take your case to an attorney; let them tell you where your situation stands and if it will get you your fair due, after which you should pursue it. You also need a lawyer to file your drafts.
What Is The Statute Of Limitation?
The statute of limitation is the prescribed timeline in which you need to file your lawsuit. Generally, this goes into effect when you realize you have experienced malpractice and turn to legal bodies for help. From there, depending on the state, you have about two to four years to submit your case and claim your dues. If it exceeds the deadline, your lawsuit will become invalid, and you may get no compensation.
What Happens In A Medical Lawsuit?
To start a lawsuit, your attorney must submit a case to the court and approve it. A pleading is a formal complaint you lodge against the guilty party, which states your position in the case and why you filed. After which, you need to wait for a response from the defendant. It is usually a long time and can go up to a month. If the defendant doesn’t respond, you win by default.
A respondent must submit a counterclaim that either accepts the charges or argues against your complaint. From there, the court may ask for motions and set a date for the parties to decide what they want to do. In most cases, the defendant may try to strike up a settlement deal.
How Is The Evidence Collected?
For a medical lawsuit, the evidence lies in your receipts, medical bills, prescriptions, and injuries. You may also bring in a witness that can testify who your healthcare staff was and confirm that before merging your medical caregiver, you were in sound shape.
This phase is the discovery period during which you round up evidence, consult with other medical caregivers to confirm that you were harmed, sustain physical disabilities and bring forward any medical report that links you to your doctor. The idea is to establish that you entrusted your life to the caregiver, and they messed up.
What Happens In A Settlement?
Settlements are deals you negotiate with the defendant to reach an agreement. Most medical lawsuits end with a settlement where you can put forward your demands and seek compensation. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you can ask for getting your fair due for the physical wounds you suffered, the emotional damages that came with it, and how this mishap impacted your life.
If you can no longer work, have a family to look after, and suffer immense loss because of your doctor, they can all go into your settlement. It would help if you let your lawyer handle the deal since there’s a chance the defendant may try to get you to settle for less. You and the guilty party must settle on an amount for the case to conclude. If no settlement is agreed upon, the case will go to trial.
What Goes On In A Trial?
A trial is a legal case that happens in court. You may get a jury appointed to your lawsuit to help the system decide the verdict. These legal proceedings are lengthy and may take up to months. Your lawyer will need to prepare an opening statement, call in witnesses and present your evidence while the defendant does the same.
The jury will decide how long they need to deliberate before you can hear your verdict. If it’s not in your favor, you get nothing, but if you emerge victorious, you can get a higher payout than a settlement. There’s also a chance the doctor in charge may also get jailed or lose their license.
Your doctor’s job is to protect and look after you without causing harm. But what happens when your healthcare giver cannot do that and ends up hurting you? It opens the gate to medical malpractice. These lawsuits hold the hospital and the staff responsible for what happened to you.
It involves submitting a complaint through a lawyer within the statute of limitation to get your case heard. Your attorney is vital in rounding up evidence and representing you whether you go to trial or have your case settled.
In short, a medical malpractice lawsuit is the right you are granted by the law to ensure no unfair medical practices are taking place that can cost patients their lives or destroy their lifestyles without consequences.