A recent study conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine claimed that medical malpractice suits are declining.
However, award amounts are climbing. While the news is a welcome relief, it still does not completely eradicate the issue of millions of people experiencing poor treatment at the hands of their trusted medical professionals each year. A more worrying statistic that should be noted is that only 2 percent of patients who experience medical malpractice ever file claims to secure compensation. For many of them, the question of whether they have a formidable medical malpractice case, and the cost of pursuing it with an unknown outcome, weighs heavily in their decisions. If you or a loved one has endured medical malpractice, you do not need to stay silent. Whether it is finding the right malpractice attorney or deciphering whether the incident occurred outside of normal procedure, there are a few things that can help you decide if you have a credible case – and whether to move ahead with legal action.
What Is The Timeline Of The Incident?
Each state has a different statute of limitations for medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice cases. The statute of limitations for New York is two years and six months from the date of the medical malpractice incident or the end of continuous treatment. However, this is also dependent on the kind of injury and the party you are planning to sue. For instance, in a private medical malpractice suit where there was a cancer misdiagnosis, you have two years from the time you were first diagnosed to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, malpractice cases involving minors carry an extended timeline of 10 years from the date of the incident.
Can You Prove You Endured Damages?
Medical malpractice suits are based on the premise that a medical professional has deviated from the recognized “standard of care”
during treatment. However, to prove medical malpractice in a court, you need to show that there have been damages. So, when asking the question “Do I have a case
?” consider whether you can show evidence of the harm you suffered, such as medical costs to treat your injuries, or the cause of continued treatment like treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Did You Give Consent Knowing The Risks And Benefits?
Before any medical treatment, doctors must explain the procedure and its risks to the patient. This is referred to as gaining informed consent in healthcare
. This is to help the patient make an informed decision with accurate and relevant information. However, if you can prove that the party performed a medical procedure without your consent, or they did not give you all the information to make an informed decision, you may have a case.
If you ended up being harmed in a medical procedure you did not consent to, or would have made a different treatment decision if your doctor had divulged all the information, doctors could also be charged with gross negligence, and professionally reprimanded. However, medical professionals are also covered by the exceptional circumstances law. This means they are required to disclose foreseeable risks, but unusual occurrences are not regarded as a failure to disclose information, as they could not have anticipated them when obtaining consent.
One of the best ways to know whether you have a credible medical malpractice case is to seek an initial consultation with a malpractice lawyer in the state you plan on suing. The locality of the practice means they will be familiar with state regulations and laws. Medical malpractice no longer needs to be brushed under the rug. Patients and their families deserve to find justice for their experience at the hands of negligent medical professionals. They just need to take the first step.