Over the course of a lifetime, most people will need to have some kind of surgery at least once. In fact, according to the CDC, in 2010 Americans underwent 51.4 million inpatient hospital procedures. Most of these types of operations go as intended, but what happens if you’re one of the few who’ve suffered an adverse outcome? While not all complications of medical treatment are the result of medical malpractice, they can mean you’ve been the victim of negligence. What you do in the face of such an unfortunate event can seriously impact your ability to hold your physician accountable.
Whether or not medical malpractice has occurred is determined by whether or not your treatment met the accepted standard of medical care and if it caused harm to you. That can include both things the doctor did, whether taking an unreasonable action or administering care incompetently, and things the doctor failed to do. However, proving that your treatment was both negligent and caused the harm in question can be difficult.
First, you must take gather as much information as possible about your care. Patients have a legal right to copies of their medical records, and do not feel shy about requesting them. You do not have to explain to anybody why you want them. You should obtain all of the records related to the treatment in question, which may mean dealing with multiple providers—your doctor, specialists, a hospital or other facility in which you received care, or labs where blood or other tests were performed. Take notes as well. The details you recall about your treatment, including who provided your care and what exactly was done or prescribed to you, may be helpful. Having as complete a record of the care as possible will help an expert evaluate your claim in the event you need to pursue legal action.
Gathering information can also mean asking questions of those involved in your care. What explanation can your doctor or hospital staff give you about what went wrong in your case? Be sure to bring along someone else and take notes to help you recall what was said in any such meeting. Do not, however, sign anything or agree to resolve any potential disputes on the spot, as this may negatively affect your ability to recover damages later on.
Whether or not you are contemplating a lawsuit, you should consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney. A lawyer will be able to help investigate your case, determine if you have a claim, and inform you about statutes of limitations and other legal details that may affect your case. Victims of medical malpractice may be entitled to compensation not only for medical bills and lost wages, but also for pain and suffering and future lost earnings and medical expenses. An attorney will also be able to able to advise you on which apply in your case and ensure you do not underestimate the future impact of your medical injury. Because the laws governing medical malpractice are highly complex and vary from state to state, should you decide to pursue legal action, you will need not only skilled legal representation but testimony from medical experts. An expert attorney will be able to arrange all of the resources necessary to handle your case.
If you feel you may have been the victim of medical malpractice, the experienced attorneys of Hodes, Milman & Liebeck can help. Contact us online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.