When you go to the doctor, you expect that professional to act in your best interests. In the medical field, negligence can cost a person their ability to function and, in worst-case scenarios, their life. If you suffered damages at the hands of a doctor or medical procedure, you can speak with a medical malpractice attorney to help you file a claim.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
There are four elements of medical malpractice:
- Legal duty of care
- Breach of duty
- A relationship between breach of duty and injury
- Damages from the injury
When a person becomes a doctor, he or she has to exercise a certain degree of skill when working with patients. While a doctor cannot guarantee medical results, he or she should take all necessary precautions to ensure no harm to the patient.
The legal duty of care only occurs when you have a doctor-patient relationship with a medical professional. For example, if a friend who happens to practice medicine gives you bad advice, it may not constitute medical malpractice.
When Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
The most common medical errors include:
- Prescription errors
- Diagnostic errors
- Surgical errors
- Informed consent failures
- Complications and infections
Even if you experienced one of these issues, if there are no damages present, you do not have a case. Simple mistakes that turn out to be minor inconveniences do not make it to court.
However, if you’re looking for a practicing attorney, then odds are the mistake cost you your health, money, or lifestyle. While there is no legal requirement to have a medical malpractice attorney, the complex nature of medical malpractice cases makes it difficult to obtain compensation without one.
What Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Do for You?
Attorneys are your advocates. They litigate malpractice lawsuits on their client’s behalf. Medical malpractice lawyers work in civil litigation. They do not work on cases where criminal charges are involved. If you retain an attorney, his or her job is to work with medical experts, gather and analyze evidence, take depositions and investigate and litigate your malpractice case.
5 Guidelines for Obtaining a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you believe that medical professionals acted negligently during your treatment, you may want to seek out a medical malpractice lawyer. To make a claim, file a complaint against the state’s medical licensing board.
Some patients attempt to work out the claim with the hospital or doctor in question. However, working with a doctor cannot guarantee you’ll receive the compensation you deserve. A medical malpractice attorney knows what you need to do.
1. Beat the Statute of Limitations
If you want to win your case, you must file the complaint before the statute of limitations runs out. In Arizona, all personal injury cases have a statute of limitations of two years. This means you cannot file a lawsuit against the doctor or hospital if two years have passed since the injury.
If you did not find out that your injury came from medical malpractice or if the damage took years to manifest, you might be able to file a lawsuit within two years of recognizing the injury or illness caused by the hospital. The courts will dismiss your case if you file a complaint after this time limit. Personal injury lawyers do not take cases that have no chance of success.
2. Obtain Evidence of Medical Malpractice
Your medical malpractice attorney will want to see evidence of malpractice. Bring your medical records with you to the attorney’s office. Your medical records should include the injury or condition caused by the doctor in question and any health conditions you had prior.
Some clients make the mistake of thinking that they only need to provide their lawyer with the facts about their injury. While your advocate has to analyze your current medical state, he or she also requires evidence of a direct correlation. At the very least, you should be able to explain your case so counsel can investigate it.
3. Review Medical Malpractice Lawyers
When searching for a lawyer, look for someone qualified to handle your case. Skilled medical malpractice lawyers have experience within the field. They should be lawyers who often represent patients who suffered damages at the hands of a doctor or hospital facility.
The first step to finding a good lawyer is to look online. You can also ask for opinions if you know someone who has a medical malpractice case. Once you have a list of attorney names, check the state and national bar associations to ensure the lawyer is in good standing. Find out how much of the attorney’s caseload is dedicated to medical malpractice. Those who more frequently handle medical malpractice will better understand how to navigate your case.
4. Set Up an Interview
Many medical malpractice attorneys provide free consultations to potential clients. You will have to answer various questions about your case during the initial consultation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your own, too. Some things to ask include:
- What type of experience do you have?
- What resources do you have available?
- Which factors might work against me?
- Who will I talk to regularly about the case?
- How can I contact you with new information?
Be thorough; most lawyers will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.
5. Weigh Your Options
Do not be afraid to list the pros and cons of the professionals you want to represent you. Not only do you need to go over the qualifications, but you also have to ensure that you feel comfortable speaking to the specific lawyer about your case. Injuries and illnesses are personal, and your advocate will have to ask you various questions to build a solid case. You must feel comfortable answering questions and asking some of your own throughout the process.
Seek the Compensation You Deserve With a Medical Malpractice Attorney
At MDK Law Group, we understand the amount of stress medical malpractice victims is under. We offer contingency-based fees for all our personal injury clients with no out-of-pocket expenses. To find a medical malpractice attorney to help you obtain the compensation you deserve, contact our firm as soon as possible.