According to the American Medical Association, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in America, right behind heart disease and cancer. If you or someone you care about has been injured because of a mistake or omission by a doctor or other member of a medical team, you may be confused about what to do next. After all, the medical team are the very people you trusted and relied on to help you. Fortunately, there is action you can take, in most cases. However, it's important to keep a very key points in mind as you consider a malpractice lawsuit.
What you need to know about a malpractice lawsuit
1.There are time limits. In most malpractice situations, there are statutes of limitations. That means that you can only file a lawsuit up until a specified date after the incident occurred. If you wait too long, the court will throw out your case.
2. Injury or death doesn't equal malpractice. As upsetting as an unexpected injury or death while under medical care can be, it doesn't always mean that the doctor or medical team has done something wrong. Sometimes bad things happen even when the medical team follows all of the correct procedures. To have a viable malpractice case, a person needs to have been harmed as a direct result of an error.
3. Malpractice laws vary by state. Each state's laws regarding malpractice lawsuits are slightly different. You'll have to file your suit in the state where the incident occurred. If you traveled to another state to receive medical care, that means you'll have to travel to that state for court appearances and you'll have to find an attorney who practices in that state.
4. Medical negligence is not malpractice. While they are similar, medical malpractice and medical negligence are not the same thing. As mentioned above, malpractice is an error that resulted in harm. Negligence is a failure to do something that resulted in harm to a person. There are different laws regarding each situation.
While everyone's situation is different, it's important to talk with a personal injury attorney as soon after the incident as possible. An attorney like one from Stillman & Stillman P.C. will be able to walk you through the steps necessary to file a malpractice lawsuit. Most such attorneys offer free consultations so they can evaluate your case. If an attorney decides to represent you, it is likely for him or her to do so on a contingency basis, meaning that you will not receive an invoice from the firm unless (or until) they collect money on your behalf.