According to a Johns Hopkins study, over 250,000 people in America die every year due to medical mistakes.
This makes medical malpractice the third-leading cause of death in this country, right behind heart disease and cancer. It also makes medical malpractice something you should have on your radar.
When you’re preparing to go under the knife or considering going to court after a medical error, it pays—sometimes literally—to understand the ins and outs of this complicated type of law. Here’s everything you need to know about medical malpractice.
- Medical Negligence Is a Part of Medical Malpractice Law
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional causes patient injury. In this case, the professional knows the consequences of their actions but follows through with them anyway, intentionally or otherwise. This could happen when a doctor overprescribes medication or rushes a procedure, for example.
Medical negligence falls under medical malpractice law, but it’s a little different. Negligence happens when a doctor causes harm without knowing. Examples could include prescribing the wrong drug or misreading lab results.
- You Have the Burden of Proof
When you suffer medical abuse during a hospital visit, it’s up to you to prove it. Your lawyer will help you document and find proof for several things:
- A healthcare professional provided substandard care
- The injury had a physical or emotional impact on your health
- The medical professional actually caused the injury
To prove these things, your attorney may suggest getting one or more expert witnesses to testify.
- Medical Malpractice Law Differs By State
Though the overall process is similar, each state has its own laws and standards regarding medical malpractice. This is why it’s important to find an experienced lawyer who understands what to know about medical malpractice law in your specific area.
- There’s a Statute of Limitations
If a medical professional has injured you, you’ll need to bring your case quickly. Most states give you only a year or two to do so.
If you don’t file within this time, the best legal attorney can’t help you earn a court settlement, even if it’s clear-cut.
- Cases Can Take Months or Years to Resolve
If you’re thinking of going to court, you need to be prepared to play the long game. Some cases take a few months to see resolution, while others can last two years or more.
Prepare to pay your medical fees out of pocket until a successful outcome reimburses you. Fortunately, a reputable lawyer won’t expect legal fees upfront, as they’ll only take part of your payment if you win.
Consider Your Case Carefully
Due to the complexity of medical malpractice law, getting compensation can be difficult without expert help.
Whether you or your loved one has been affected by a medical error, it’s important to document everything and prove you were wronged. Find an attorney with the right experience in your state to help you move forward on the road to recovery.
Looking for more legal tips? Check out our other blog posts for more insights.