A growing body of research shows that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the US. As a patient, this isn’t something you want to ignore. Medical negligence is absolute, and it’s traumatic. When you visit the doctor, you expect to feel better after your visit than you did before. Medical malpractice happens when a patient is harmed by a physician (or other medical practitioners). This means they fail to perform their medical duties as expected. In most cases, the malpractice might result from errors in treatment, diagnosis, health management, or aftercare. Because knowledge is power, here’s what you need to know about medical malpractice.
1. What’s Considered as Medical Negligence?
Not every injury or damage you have qualifies as medical malpractice. This makes it challenging to establish what medical malpractice is. In some cases, things can get tricky, especially if a medical malpractice lawyer does not represent you. Before pursuing a lawsuit, Glacier Law Firm advises speaking to an attorney first. An attorney will help you decide whether to pursue a case or not. If you take up legal proceedings, you’ll need to prove a duty of care was owed. Your lawyer will also need to show you suffered harm or injury.
2. No Informed Consent was Given
As a patient, a medical practitioner should inform you of any risks associated with a particular medical treatment; this should happen before you consent to anything. Similarly, a medical practitioner must receive informed consent from a patient before medical treatment takes place. A patient also needs to be allowed an appropriate period to offer consent and ask any questions. Sometimes, informed consent doesn’t have to take the form of a signature. In some states, it can be issued verbally. If a medical practitioner issues you poorly written consent, you may have grounds to sue for medical malpractice.
3. Limits to File a Medical Malpractice Claim
Yes, there are limits. For example, in New Jersey, you should file a medical malpractice claim within two years from the date the incident happened. It can also apply when you become aware of the injury. There are circumstances where this time limit varies. For instance, if you’re a minor, you have until your 18th birthday to file a claim against the negligent healthcare provider. But, if the minor dies because of a medical provider’s negligence, the victim’s parents have two years to file a claim.
4. What Insurance Firms Want
Proving medical negligence occurred is time-consuming, tedious, and is expensive. This being said, a genuine apology from a healthcare institution can prevent future lawsuits. In most cases, insurance companies prefer to settle with the victim directly. This helps them avoid costly and long-term litigation. Most insurance companies will opt for pre-court settlements. This prevents them from paying heavy fines once an attorney is involved.
Medical negligence can be catastrophic and can even lead to death. As such, ensure you ask questions about your health condition, diagnosis, as well as planned treatment. Use the internet to research more medical information. Armed with this knowledge, you can understand what your medical condition entails. This will help you avoid chances of medical negligence happening. However, if it does, ensure you work with a competent medical malpractice attorney.