Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If something has gone wrong in the course of your medical treatment, you may be wondering if you have the basis of a malpractice claim. However, just because you experience a negative outcome in a healthcare situation, this does not always mean that the situation involved malpractice. Medical malpractice cases can be very complex, and you will usually need the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney throughout the process.
What You Will Need to Prove Medical Malpractice Case
In any medical malpractice case, the plaintiff will need to prove four key factors. As you are determining whether you should seek the help of a medical malpractice lawyer ask yourself these questions.
- Did a doctor-patient relationship exist? A doctor or healthcare worker must have been directly responsible for your care. If you followed medical advice you overheard from a doctor or read on the internet, there was no doctor-patient relationship.
- Did the doctor violate the standard of care? Standard of care is generally defined as the degree of care and skill of the average health care provider practicing in the provider’s specialty. Your medical provider must have done something they should not have done according to reasonable care standards—or, neglected to do something that they should have done.
- Did negligence cause the injury? You must prove that the injury directly occurred as a direct result of negligent actions.
- Did you suffer significant losses? Damages awarded in a malpractice claim are meant to compensate for losses, such as physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills, or lost work. Because malpractice cases can be expensive to litigate, your losses must be significant in order for the case to be viable.
Your medical malpractice claim also must be within the duration of your state’s statute of limitations. This timeline varies by state.
How to Seek Legal Advice for a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice attorneys often offer free initial consultations. At this initial consultation, you should be prepared to provide all necessary facts of your case. You should provide a list of all the health care providers who have treated you for the condition underlying your claim, summarize your treatment, and collect correspondence and documents relating to the case. You should also make a list of the questions you want to ask the lawyer, including inquiries about their background, the potential duration of the case, and their approach to settlement.
Many malpractice lawyers will represent a client under a contingency fee arrangement, which means that payment for legal services will only come if the case is resolved through a jury award or settlement. This means that a lawyer may not take on a case that does not have a good chance of a successful outcome. Seek the advice of an experienced malpractice attorney to determine if your case has the potential for success.