Medical malpractice has reached epidemic proportions in the US. In fact, as a personal injury lawyer at Hayhurst Law, PLLC explains, medical errors now constitute the second leading cause of US deaths. As common as medical malpractice occurrences are, you might well think that proving medical malpractice is a simple, straightforward process. Unfortunately, such is not the case. This is why you need to seek the advice, counsel and representation of an experienced local medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect that you have become a medical malpractice victim. Medical malpractice can take many forms, including the following:
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to order the proper diagnostic tests
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Failure to properly treat
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Medication errors
- Failure to fully advise the patient of risks and side effects of treatment or medications
- Failure to properly monitor a patient’s progress
- Premature emergency room or hospital discharge
Obtaining Legal Help
Your lawyer can review your medical and other records and help you determine what type of medical malpractice, if any, occurred and which members of your health care team negligently acted or failed to act. After determining fault, and therefore legal liability, your lawyer can then file a medical malpractice lawsuit for you against the negligent party or parties.
Filing your lawsuit, however, is only the beginning of what could well be a long legal process. The first stage almost certainly will be negotiations between your lawyer and the lawyers and claims adjusters working for the defendant’s insurance company. As you might expect, the parties have two entirely different goals. Your lawyer’s goal is to get you the maximum allowable compensation for your injuries and their associated costs. Conversely, the insurance company’s goal is to pay you as little as possible. Given such diametrically opposed starting positions, negotiations may go on for months before arriving at a reasonable settlement figure.
In rare cases, your medical malpractice case may require your lawyer to conduct a full-blown jury trial. If so, he or she will need to add qualified expert witnesses to your legal team. Why? Because you need medical experts to explain the nature and extent of your injuries to the jury in layman’s terms that they will understand.
Keep in mind that a settlement can occur at any time during the legal process, even after the trial is underway. As a matter of practicality, defendants’ insurance companies often settle if they feel the case is going against them and the jury is likely to award you what they consider to be an exorbitant amount.