What You Need to Know about Your Medical Malpractice Case
Do you have a medical malpractice case? Here’s what you need to know (and what you can expect) while your case is pending.
Dealing with the consequences of a medical mistake is difficult. There is simply no other way to put it. But, you can get through it; and, with experienced legal representation, you can seek the financial compensation you need to recover and move on with your life.
When you have a medical malpractice case, there is a lot you need to know. It is also important to have a clear understanding of what you should (and shouldn’t) expect during the process. With this in mind, here is some key information for individuals and families who are seeking just compensation for medical malpractice.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
A doctor’s (or other healthcare provider’s) mistake constitutes medical malpractice when it reflects a failure to meet the requisite standard of care. Patients and families need to be able to trust their healthcare providers’ judgment, so the law holds healthcare providers to certain standards. These standards can vary between geographic areas; but, generally speaking, doctors, nurses, and others must provide care consistent with the level of care provided by their peers.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?
Proving that your healthcare provider committed medical malpractice is a multi-step process. Your attorney will need to review your medical records and talk to you about what happened, and then he or she will need to consult with medical experts to obtain their professional opinions. Using all of the available evidence (including expert testimony), your attorney can then build a case demonstrating that your healthcare provider failed to uphold the appropriate standard of care.
How Much Can You Recover for Medical Malpractice?
The amount of financial compensation you can recover for medical malpractice depends on your personal circumstances. What are your medical needs as a result of your provider’s mistake? Are you unable to work? How severe is your pain and suffering? How long will your provider’s mistake impact your life? These are all questions you and your attorney will need to answer in order to accurately calculate your losses.
The 5 Major Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case
Now that we’ve covered the basics of medical malpractice, let’s talk about what you can expect during your medical malpractice case. Here is a brief overview of the five major steps involved:
1. Claim Analysis
First, your attorney will need to determine if you have a claim. This will take some time, as your attorney will need to review your medical records and consult with experts (as discussed above)—and then examine all of the available evidence in the context of the relevant standard of care. Your attorney will also need to examine any potential defenses against your medical malpractice claim, and he or she will need to evaluate your likelihood of success so that you can make an informed decision about whether to move forward.
2. Damages Calculation
If you decide to move forward, your attorney will need to calculate how much you are entitled to recover. As a victim of medical malpractice, you are entitled to compensation for all of the financial and non-financial costs of your healthcare provider’s mistake. Your attorney will work with medical experts to understand the immediate and long-term effects of your provider’s mistake, and then he or she will use this information to calculate your damages.
3. Claim Filing
In the vast majority of cases, seeking compensation for medical malpractice will involve filing a claim with your provider’s insurance company. Virtually all providers carry medical malpractice insurance. Your attorney will obtain your provider’s insurance information, and then he or she will file a claim on your behalf.
4. Settlement Negotiations
After filing your claim, your attorney will work to negotiate a settlement. This will involve presenting evidence of both liability and damages, and it will involve seeking to convince the insurance company’s adjusters and defense lawyers that coverage is warranted. If your healthcare provider’s insurance company makes a settlement offer, your attorney will review the offer with you so that you can decide whether to accept or keep fighting for more.
5. Trial (If Necessary)
While most medical malpractice claims settle, it is important to only settle your claim if you receive a fair offer. If you don’t receive a fair offer, your attorney can take your claim to trial. This is a complex and lengthy process on its own, but going through the process will be worth it if it means collecting the financial compensation you deserve.
What You Can Do to Help Your Medical Malpractice Case
When you hire a medical malpractice lawyer at Berkowitz Hanna, you can expect your lawyer to handle most aspects of your case for you. But, there are some important ways that you can help as well. For example, while your medical malpractice case is pending, you should:
- Go to your doctor’s appointments. While it can be difficult to trust any doctor after experiencing malpractice, you need to go to your (new) doctor’s appointments as scheduled. We are more than happy to help you find a doctor you can trust.
- Follow your doctor’s advice. In addition to attending your doctor’s appointments, you should also follow your doctor’s advice at home. This means resting, staying home from work, and going to therapy as necessary.
- Communicate with your lawyer. Your lawyer will need to speak with you on a regular basis. Answer the phone whenever you can, and respond as soon as possible if you get an email, text, or voicemail.
- Be diligent, but patient. You need to be diligent about your recovery, but you also need to be patient. Let your lawyer do what he or she does, and do not necessarily expect to accept the first settlement offer you receive.
- Make informed decisions. Finally, you need to make informed decisions. Listen to your doctor and your lawyer, and think carefully to ensure that you are making decisions with your long-term best interests in mind.
Questions? Contact a Lawyer at Berkowitz Hanna Today
If you have any questions about what you can expect from your medical malpractice case, we encourage you to get in touch. To speak with a lawyer at Berkowitz Hanna, call 203-447-0000 or contact us online today.