Modern medicine is truly one of the greatest assets that we can enjoy. Much of what we take for granted was once impossible to imagine or reserved only for the rich.
In an ideal world, medicine would be one aspect that was completely perfect. After all, it’s a field that’s dedicated to improving human lives. However, it cannot be denied that wherever humans are, greed and corruption raise their ugly heads.
Medicine is not free from this curse, and the fact is that medical malpractice hurts millions of patients worldwide. It’s no surprise that there are more than 20,000 medical malpractice lawsuits filed every year in the U.S.
Are you a victim of a botched medical procedure, or have you suffered harm as a result of the treatment you received? If you are about to file a lawsuit, ensure that you don’t make the following three mistakes.
Here Are 3 Prime Mistakes To Avoid When Filing A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
1. Assuming You Have a Malpractice Case When You Don’t
The truth is that some people tend to have unrealistic expectations about treatment outcomes. Doctors are required to explain the risks and complications, but it’s inevitable that misunderstandings sometimes happen.
It’s not uncommon to see patients get angry and blame treatment complications as a sign of negligence. However, the law won’t see it that way.
Similarly, it’s possible that diagnostic errors can seriously affect your well-being. This is unfortunate, but in most cases, it is not intentional and cannot be counted as medical malpractice. This can naturally be frustrating, especially if the error has worsened your symptoms.
Lastly, if a particular treatment method hasn’t proven effective, and it turns out that you didn’t follow medical advice, that’s not malpractice. Of course, all these situations are complex, and the legalities will be specific to each situation.
2. Delaying the Filing of the Lawsuit
This is one of the worst things you can do, but it also happens to be one of the most common mistakes. Too often, you have people who have a legitimate case of medical malpractice, but they get cold feet.
They discuss it with family and friends and listen to two hundred differing opinions on whether to file a case or not. By the time they finish wasting time, it’s almost always too late. It’s not uncommon to see people wait several years before they finally have the courage to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
They fail to realize that most states have a statute of limitations. This refers to the amount of time within which a lawsuit needs to be filed. It differs from state to state, but it’s not that long.
You see, when people think of the statute of limitations, they often assume it’s 10+ years or so.
However, with medical malpractice, it’s actually only two years in a lot of states. If you live in Louisiana, it’s even shorter.
That is not a lot of time, which is why you need to act fast.
Moreover, evidence also becomes less reliable with time. If medical malpractice truly happened, then you are only giving them more time to cover their tracks. Who knows if your medical records have been altered? If you are counting on a witness, will they still remember the details after two years? Will they even want to testify anymore?
You should keep these factors in mind and file your case the moment your attorney advises you to.
3. Failure to Obtain Expert Opinions
A lot of times, it can be quite ambiguous and difficult to say if you have been wronged. Medical malpractice can happen in subtle ways that aren’t just the result of a misdiagnosis.
As Freeman Law Firm states, it often involves communication failures, fatigue, and poor training. Other factors, like malfunctioning equipment, poor coordination among staff, and inadequate follow-up, also play a role. (It’s important to note that intent obviously plays a major role here.)
Most patients will have little luck identifying such negligence. However, there are some who can. Depending on which state you are in, you might be able to approach a medical review board.
Essentially, they are entities that verify if medical care has met acceptable standards. The members of such boards are typically highly experienced, and they are often experts in their areas. You can approach them if you need an objective evaluation of the care you received.
This can be a great step to take, as in some jurisdictions, the findings of a medical review board will be admissible in court. Thus, if you are thinking of filing lawsuits, having an expert assessment that confirms malpractice has occurred can be super helpful.
In conclusion, it’s extremely easy to make mistakes when you need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. After all, most people don’t have any experience and fail to seek legal advice until it’s too late.
Like in any other situation in life, it’s a good idea to do a little research to ensure you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot.