If you have been injured or suffered as a result of poor medical treatment or an incorrect diagnosis from a medical provider, filing a medical malpractice case may be the best option for obtaining compensation. While no amount of money can take away the pain you have suffered as the result of someone else’s negligence, it can help you cover the costs of mounting medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Medical malpractice cases are complex, though, and it’s often difficult to even know where to begin. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about filing a medical malpractice case.
Contact the Medical Professional Involved
Before you start a medical malpractice case, you need to contact the doctor or other medical professional involved. This step provides an opportunity for you to get a better understanding of what went wrong. It also allows the medical professional to assess the situation and determine if the problem is something that they can remedy. In many cases, they will perform services (often at no charge) to provide a solution.
If you are unable to reach your medical professional or they refuse to remedy the situation, contact the licensing board. The licensing board probably will not be able to force the medical professional to compensate you, but they can issue warnings or discipline to the professional and may be able to advise you on what to do next.
Know the Statute of Limitations
When deciding whether or not to file a medical malpractice claim, keep in mind that you only have so much time to do so. The statute of limitations for filing this type of claim varies from state to state. In Georgia, section 9-3-71 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated states that “… an action for medical malpractice shall be brought within two years after the date on which an injury or death arising from a negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.” However, if the injury does not produce any, or minor, symptoms, the injured party may have two years from the date they discover the injury in which to file a claim (such as happens sometimes in the situation where a condition such as cancer is misdiagnosed). In no event, whether the injury is discovered or not, may a malpractice lawsuit be filed more than five years after the date of the alleged malpractice (called the statute of repose.)There is one exception to this rule. If a foreign object is left behind in a patient’s body, a lawsuit may be filed up to one year after the object has been discovered. This applies to situations in which a tool, sponge, etc. is left inside the body during a surgical procedure. It does not apply to fixation devices, chemical compounds or prosthetic aids or devices.
Find Out if Your Claim Is Valid
When filing a medical malpractice claim, most states require injured parties to attach some type of certification from a qualified medical professional. In Georgia, you are required to attach an affidavit from a doctor or medical expert that states that the actions complained of constitute medical malpractice. The affidavit establishes that your claim is valid in the eyes of the law. Unless you are representing yourself – which is not advised – your attorney will obtain an affidavit for you. You will, however, have to meet with a medical professional so that they can verify whether medical malpractice has occurred.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Case
Because medical malpractice cases are complex, it is best to consult with a qualified medical malpractice attorney if you plan on filing a claim. There are many different types of medical malpractice, and your attorney can help you determine which one applies to your situation. He will also guide you through the process and can mean the difference between getting the compensation you deserve and walking away empty-handed.
If you have been injured or suffered harm as the result of a medical provider’s negligence, the effects can be devastating. Filing a medical malpractice case can help you receive compensation for your injuries, but these cases are incredibly complex. They are also often difficult to prosecute because of the technical nature of medicine and healthcare.
As the injured party or a family member of someone who has lost their life due to medical malpractice, trying to navigate the legal system and reach a favorable outcome can be nearly impossible. Consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is essential in these situations.
If you are considering filing a medical malpractice case, we can help. At Kopelman Sitton, we have the knowledge and experience to handle these challenging cases and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.