Medical Malpractice FAQ
If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, then you should look into filing a malpractice claim to collect damages to compensate you for the injuries you have incurred.
Medical malpractice suits tend to take a long time to resolve and can be fairy complicated, requiring a knowledge of both the law and medicine. It is important that prior to filing your claim you have some basic understanding of medical malpractice. The following is a list of frequently asked questions you may have regarding the malpractice and the claim process.
Who Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
You can sue any medical professional responsible for your injuries. This includes doctors, nurses, and technicians. You can also file suits against hospitals.
To sue a hospital for medical malpractice, you must be able to prove hospital negligence. Hospital negligence can occur if the hospital fails to properly execute its standard of care. Examples of hospital negligence include:
- Failing to properly train hospital employees
- Understaffing the facility
- Failing to maintain patient records
- Failing to ensure that independent contractors of the hospital have the proper credentials
- The physician or surgeon's qualifications
- The purpose of the procedure
- The procedure's risks
- The likelihood that the procedure will be effective
- The cost of the procedure
How Do I Prove My Malpractice Claim?
To win your malpractice claim, you must prove that the medical provider's negligent actions caused your injuries. In other words, you have to prove the medical provider was responsible for your injuries.
To prove negligence, you must first determine the standard of care, or common diagnostic protocols and treatment, the medical professional was expected to use. When it comes to medical malpractice cases, the standard of care expected of a professional will depend on the patient's age, condition, and geographic location, among other things.
You then must prove that the medical professional failed to follow this standard of care and that this failure to subscribe to the standard of care caused your injuries.
What Is the Time Limit to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
The window of time you have from the time you incur your injuries to when you will be legally barred from filing a claim is called the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims will vary from state to state. However, in many states claimants will have about two years to file suit. It is important to hire a medical malpractice attorney as soon after the injury occurs as possible so you can initiate your claim before the statute of limitations expires.
How Do I Access My Medical Records?
During the course of your case, you and your attorney may need to review your medical records to help build your medical malpractice claim. These records are generally kept private; however, you have a legal right to access them.
To access your medical records, you will need to consult your state's laws. Your attorney may be able to assist you with navigating these laws to simplify the process. Each state has its own process you must go through in order to make a medical records request.
Usually you will be required to pay a small fee for photocopies of these records, which typically does not exceed about 75 cents per page.
What Is Informed Consent?
Medical professionals must receive their patients' informed consentprior to administering medical treatment. Failing to get informed consent from a patient prior to administering treatment can result in medical malpractice.
Informed consent means that you, the patient, have been informed about the treatment you will receive for your medical condition, and, after being informed, you agree to undergo this treatment. Oftentimes, such consent must be given in writing.
The type of information that a medical professional should provide to you when seeking informed consent includes:
There may be some instances where informed consent is not necessary, such as emergency situations, especially where the patient is incapacitated or unconscious.