Most medical professionals have your best interests in mind and really want to help you or your loved one become healthy again. Even so, medical malpractice ranks as third leading cause of death in the United States behind cancer and heart disease, with nearly 100,000 lives lost because of it each year. Yet such cases can be difficult to pursue, so it’s understandable to have some hesitation and a lot of questions. If you or your loved one may have suffered some type of medical malpractice, here’s what you’ll want to keep in mind.
How Serious Was the Alleged Malpractice?
There’s no law requiring medical professionals to have a pleasant attitude. So if this is the basis for your litigation, it’s best to let it go. On the other hand, if you suspect that mistakes were made that affected your quality of life, then it’s reasonable to consult a lawyer.
Were You Told of Any Possible Risks Ahead of Time?
Most physicians won’t guarantee results of a procedure before it’s performed. If you received any specific promises or guarantees, write down what you recall the doctor saying to you or your loved one. Also consider whether or not you were told of any possible risks. Again, most reputable doctors will preface their recommendations by mentioning possible risks. Do some research into the condition or procedure involved to determine if there are standard risks that weren’t discussed or acknowledged.
What Expenses Will You Likely Incur Because of the Possible Malpractice?
A common consideration for most malpractice cases is the amount of recoverable damages. Will you or your love one require more surgery to correct issues from the previous procedure? Will long-term care be required? How will your ability to earn a living be affected by what has happened since the incident? These are all examples of what’s considered recoverable damages. Cases that are worth pursuing typically involve significant financial losses or burdens. Also consider the costs involved with pursuing legal action.
How Long Has It Been Since the Incident Took Place?
Some patients wait for months or years before they decide that malpractice may have been involved with their situation. To be fair, there are times when it’s not initially clear that possible malpractice was involved with the outcome of a procedure. Each state has a statute of limitations for medical malpractice litigation. If it’s been several years and there’s been no serious disruption to your quality of life, it may not be a matter worth pursuing.
Were Any Waivers or Acknowledgements of Implied Risk Signed?
Most medical facilities require patients to sign various forms before having a procedure done. This is also true of some clinics that perform cosmetic procedures that are optional and not medically necessary. Look at any documents you or your loved one may have signed to determine if the issue that’s having you consider a lawsuit was referenced. If you’re not sure, have an attorney review what was signed to determine what steps you may be able to take legally.
How Strong Is Your Evidence?
A gut feeling may be what convinced you our your loved one to suspect medical malpractice. However, this is not enough to win a case. You need concrete evidence or validations. Consider having a neutral medical professional with no stake in the outcome evaluate the circumstances to determine if there are possible red flags suggesting malpractice.
Realistically, it doesn’t make sense to pursue every suspected instance of medical malpractice. However, if unintended mistakes or omissions have resulted in serious injury for you or your loved one, click here to learn more about your available options. Regardless of your circumstances, you have a right to have your questions answered and legal possibilities explained.