We trust our medical providers to give us the best care possible, and the majority of those in the medical field do their absolute best to give their patients a high level of care. However, sometimes, medical care goes wrong and the patient is harmed or injured, whether due to poor treatment, a misdiagnosis, or a violation of doctor/patient confidentiality. If you have been injured or harmed in any other way because of a misdiagnosis from a medical professional or due to poor medical treatment, you may wish to bring a medical malpractice case against the provider. However, navigating the process of filing a medical malpractice suit can be daunting. In this blog, we will go over the basic first steps of filing a medical malpractice claim.
Find a Malpractice Lawyer
When you bring a medical professional to court due to medical malpractice, the focus is on proving that they were negligent in comparison to the standard of care that would have been provided by a different medical provider in a similar situation. However, doing this without a malpractice lawyer can be difficult due to the intricacies of the process of medical malpractice claims. If you live in San Bernardino and are looking for a malpractice lawyer, contact the Westphal Law Group. We have extensive experience in handling malpractice suits and would be happy to act as your representation during this stressful and upsetting time. There are several reasons why hiring a malpractice attorney is very important.
First of all, it’s crucial to file your claim before the statute of limitations is up. How long this period lasts is dependent on the jurisdiction of your claim. In some jurisdictions, the statute starts from when the injury is discovered. In other, more stricter jurisdictions, the statute of limitations is calculated based on when the malpractice actually occurred without factoring in when the injury or harm was discovered. You best resource for determining the statute of limitations and being timely with your claim is an experienced malpractice lawyer.
Additionally, there are certain requirements that must be met before you file your case, and what they are also depends on jurisdiction. Such requirements may include review boards, notices of intent to file suit, or expert affidavits. Regardless of the requirements, failure to meet them may result in the case being dismissed. When you work with an experienced malpractice lawyer, they can ensure that you have met these requirements.
Obtain Your Medical Records
Next, it is imperative that you obtain a copy of your medical records. These will serve as your best evidence, regardless of the specifics of the case. Because of privacy laws, you will need to sign an official release of your records so that your attorneys and the defendants can see them. As soon as you think you may have a medical malpractice case, request a copy of your records to be ahead of the curve. Then, once you have decided to file a suit, get these copies to your lawyer as soon as possible. This will give them plenty of time to consult with different medical professionals to serve as expert witnesses. It’s possible that at this stage, after reviewing your records, your attorney will advise you not to file a case. Giving your lawyer as much information as possible as quickly as possible will give you a better chance of success in your lawsuit.
Notify the Medical Provider Involved
Whether through a formal letter or an informal phone call, you should notify the involved provider of the potential suit. In some cases, the notification of a potential suit will be enough for them to start an internal review and reach a settlement before you even have to file a suit. They may be able to provide you with the services you need to heal the injury or harm. However, this is not always the case, and sometimes, the process of notifying can be quite unpleasant. This is another reason why hiring a malpractice attorney can make a huge difference. Your lawyer can act as your advocate and notify the medical provider so that you can stay out of it.
Comply with Pre-Suit Requirements
As stated above, there are often requirements that you must meet before filing a medical malpractice suit. The idea of these pre-suit requirements is to streamline the process, encourage settlements, and prevent unnecessary cases being brought to court. These pre-suit requirements generally require expert help, whether in an affidavit or through another type of sworn statement, that confirms that an injury was caused due to failure to meet the expected standard of care. This is because if there is no medical expert who can support your claim, there is no reason for it to proceed. The idea is to reduce the number of frivolous cases filed. There are also often requirements in notifying the defendant of your intent to file suit in a timely manner; if you do not give them the right amount of notice, your case may be thrown out.
File Your Complaint
The last step of filing your case is to actually draft up and file your complaint. The complaint is a formal statement of your allegations against the defendant. Once this is filed, the lawsuit begins. Your malpractice lawyer can help you by drafting up these allegations and filing them for you, not to mention defending your claim in court. This is why it is so important to hire a legal professional when filing a medical malpractice case.
If you need to hire a malpractice lawyer in San Bernardino, contact Westphal Law Group today. Our experienced team of attorneys would be happy to review your medical malpractice case and give you the guidance you need. Call today!