5 Things To Do If You Suspect Medical Malpractice
It’s estimated that 10% of all deaths in the United States are caused by medical malpractice. Sadly, many of these medical malpractice victims reside right here in California. In fact, California is one of the states with the highest number of medical malpractice complaints every year.
If you ever suspect medical malpractice, it’s important to know exactly what to do to protect your rights. If you believe you are a victim, follow these five steps:
Seek Medical Attention From Another Doctor
Find another doctor as quickly as possible if you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice. You will need another doctor to correct the mistakes made by the first one. For example, let’s say you believe the first doctor misdiagnosed your condition. In this case, the second doctor will need to perform diagnostic tests in order to properly diagnose your condition. Then, the second doctor can begin treating your condition. It’s important to see a second doctor right away so your condition does not worsen as a result of the first doctor’s mistakes.
Obtain A Copy of Your Medical Records
Medical records contain a detailed summary of your medical history, symptoms, lab results, diagnoses, medications, and treatment. It’s impossible to win a medical malpractice case without this information. For example, the medical records may reveal that your healthcare provider failed to accurately read test results. Because of this mistake, the doctor misdiagnosed your condition and failed to offer the appropriate treatment. If you did not have access to these records, it would be your word against your doctor’s. These records play an important role in your case, so it is best to request a copy of them as soon as possible.
Most attorneys would recommend requesting a copy of your medical records prior to filing a medical malpractice claim. It’s illegal to alter the information contained in medical records, but some healthcare providers do it anyways in order to avoid liability in a malpractice case. But, you can prevent this problem by obtaining a copy of the records in advance so your doctor does not suspect a thing.
Use A Journal to Document Your Experience
Jot down your thoughts and feelings in a journal to document your experience. Focus on writing about the mental and physical symptoms you are experiencing in addition to how the medical error has impacted your life. For instance, if the mistake has forced you to take time off of work to recover, make a note of this in your journal. If the injury has affected your personal relationships, this should also be documented.
Make an entry in this journal everyday, if possible. Be sure to write down a summary of doctors’ appointments, treatments, and any other information related to your injuries. The entries in this journal can help medical malpractice victims recover compensation for their pain and suffering.
Hire A Medical Malpractice Attorney
It’s not practical to think that you can represent yourself in a medical malpractice case. These cases are widely known for their complexity. Plus, it is difficult to devote time and energy to a legal case when you are in the middle of recovering from your injuries. For this reason, it is best to hire a personal injury attorney who has experience handling medical malpractice cases instead of attempting to represent yourself. Don’t be afraid to schedule consultations with multiple personal injury attorneys so you can ask each of them questions before deciding who to hire.
After hiring an attorney, provide them with a copy of the evidence you have gathered thus far. This should include your medical records, journal entries, receipts, and other documentation. Meet with your attorney to discuss what happened and be as detailed as possible when describing your experience. Tell your attorney every detail you can think of–no matter how insignificant something may seem.
At this point, the attorney should have enough information to launch an investigation into the alleged medical malpractice. Your attorney will take charge of the case and reach out to you if additional information is needed. In the meantime, feel free to contact your attorney if you have questions or remember additional information about the malpractice that you forgot to share.
Do Not Contact Other Parties Involved in the Case
It can take months–sometimes even years–to resolve a medical malpractice case. During this time, it’s important to keep the details of your case under wraps. This is because it’s easy for your words to get twisted around and used against you, so don’t give into the temptation to tell others about what’s happening.
You should also refrain from contacting the healthcare facility or the healthcare provider that caused you harm. Do not get in touch with them to let them know that you are filing a medical malpractice claim against them.
Stay off of social media as well. It doesn’t matter how restrictive your settings are–someone will still be able to see every word you write. If you say the wrong thing, the defendant can take a screenshot and use your social media post as evidence against you.
The defendant’s insurance company may contact you at some point. Do not answer their questions or discuss the case at all–politely ask the insurance company to get in touch with your attorney. The insurance company is not on your side, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are simply trying to help.
Have you suffered as a result of a healthcare professional’s negligence? If so, it’s in your best interests to seek legal representation from an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Contact Carpenter & Zuckerman today to schedule a free consultation with our team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers.
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