Did you know that, according to this John Hopkins study, medical error causes nearly 250,000 deaths per year?
Yet only 1 in 50 medical malpractice victims file a claim. Victims of medical malpractice can experience severe and even life-threatening harm. Without pursuing a medical malpractice case, they must fend for themselves, suffering permanent damages and acquiring extreme medical debt.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Learn how to know when you have a medical malpractice case, and find out what to do next.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a negligent healthcare provider, doctor, or nurse harms a patient.
There are several types of medical malpractice, including:
- Birth injury
- Surgical error
- Medication error
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Inadequate after-care.
How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?
If a healthcare provider injured you, you may wonder, “How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?” You are not alone.
Medical malpractice cases are complex. They vary based on the unique circumstances of the case. Still, some signals may indicate it’s time to talk with a lawyer.
You may have a medical malpractice case if:
- You or your baby were injured during childbirth.
- You received incorrect or substandard surgery, surgery on the wrong body part, or you did not provide consent before an operation.
- Your doctor prescribed the wrong dosage of medication, medication that reacted with an existing prescription, or medication that contained a known allergen.
- Your doctor misdiagnosed you, diagnosed you too late, or failed to diagnose you entirely.
- Your doctor did not fully explain the risks, alternatives, and purpose of your medication, procedure, or treatment.
- You received minimal or substandard care after an operation or procedure.
While these signals can indicate potential medical malpractice, they alone are insufficient to build a viable case. In medical malpractice cases, the patient bears the burden of proof.
To claim medical malpractice, you and your attorney must prove:
- Duty. The healthcare provider had a duty to provide care to you, the patient.
- Breach. The provider breached the standard of care. In other words, they failed to act as a reasonable provider would in similar circumstances.
- Causation. The provider directly caused harm or injury to you, the patient.
- Damages. You suffered damages as a result of the provider’s action.
What are signs that I don’t have a medical malpractice case?
Just as some signals indicate you may have a case, there are signs you don’t.
You may not have a medical malpractice case if:
- You did not disclose all of your symptoms upfront.
- You did not disclose your prescriptions when prompted.
- You cannot prove that your injury was directly caused by the doctor’s action or inaction.
- Your injury occurred more than two years ago (there are a few exceptions to this rule. Consult your attorney for help).
- You contributed substantially to your injury.
- You do not have sufficient evidence.
Remember, medical malpractice cases are complex. If there is any chance you have a case, consult with your lawyer. Most lawyers won’t take cases they can’t win, so your lawyer can help you determine whether or not you have a viable case.
What do I do next?
If you think you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced attorney immediately. Without an attorney, you are unlikely to maximize your recovery. Your attorney can help you determine if you have a medical malpractice case, file a claim, and bring your case to trial if necessary.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of your injury. There are a few exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. For example, a minor has until their eighth birthday to bring a claim. Sometimes, the statute can be extended under a few other narrow circumstances. If it has been over two years since the malpractice, consult an attorney immediately to determine whether you qualify for an exception.
Pursuing a medical malpractice case can help you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life financially, physically, and emotionally.
Recovery typically includes:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Rehabilitation costs
- Past and ongoing pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
How Golitko & Daly Can Help
If you or a loved one has experienced complications from medical malpractice, consult with an attorney. Golitko & Daly’s experienced medical malpractice attorneys can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and rebuild your life.
*Free consultation; no retainer fee. You don’t pay a fee until we obtain a settlement for you. All attorney fees are based on the amount of your recovery.