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Every year, 250,000 Americans die as a result of medical errors. Errors and mistakes are rife within the practice of medicine. While they’re all regrettable, not every error is grounds for a medical lawsuit.
Medical lawsuits require actual malpractice, which has a strict legal definition. In other words, you can’t just sue because a treatment didn’t go your way. Even in the cases where there’s a death, it doesn’t automatically guarantee a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Are you unhappy with an outcome from a doctor or hospital and wondering whether you can sue?
Here’s what you need to know
Ask Your Healthcare Provider for Options
A medical lawsuit usually isn’t your go-to option after an accident or mistake, unless the case is a clear example of negligence.
Usually, the court wants to hear that you tried to rectify the issue with your doctor or healthcare provider before you sue.
If you have a case where you could seek a remedy directly from your doctor or provider, it is the first place to start. In most cases, the doctor or hospital will be more than willing to rectify the situation by providing a solution (where possible) to avoid an expensive lawsuit.
In the event that your provider is of no help, you can contact your state’s medical licensing board. They can issue a caution to the practitioner and inform you of your potential options. Sometimes, a letter from the licensing authority will spur action if you’re being ignored by your clinic or hospital.
Get in Touch with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you have no help from your provider and you believe you have a case, take it to a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice. Most lawyers offer a free case consultation, and if you have a likely case, they can offer you the next steps.
If you do have a case, you may need to see an independent expert to get a medical assessment of your case. In most cases, you’ll see another physician who will review the records and determine whether you have a case. They look to see whether your first provider deviated from medical standards and if so, whether that deviation resulted in your injury.
The “certificate of merit” helps states prevent frivolous lawsuits and ensures that only malpractice cases make it to court.
Do You Have a Medical Lawsuit?
Unfortunately for patients, not every mistake or error constitutes medical malpractice. That means you can’t sue for just anything. A medical lawsuit must be the product of provable negligence and a confirmation that the negligence caused your injury.
That’s why the first things you do before filing a lawsuit include consultations with your own doctor as well as with independent experts. Doing so gives you the best chance of seeing justice and compensation when your court date comes around.
Did you find our guide helpful? Our medical malpractice archive is available to answer even more questions.