Important Steps to Take With a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
When a person goes to see a doctor, whether it’s for a simple check up or for major surgery, they go in assuming the doctor will take good care of them and help them feel better. Doctors spend many years in school and training before they’re licensed to practice medicine, but even with all that experience, doctors very commonly make mistakes.
Medical malpractice can happen in many different ways, such as by failing to make a correct diagnosis, mistakes with prescription dosages, surgeries performed on the wrong site, mistakes being made in lab tests, or unsanitary tools being used during procedures. But just because it’s easy for doctors to make mistakes, that doesn’t mean it’s OK when they do — especially when the mistake can have very serious or even fatal effects for the patient.
Suspecting that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice can be very scary. We plan and prepare for a lot of things in life, but medical malpractice isn’t the sort of thing most people plan ahead for. So if you find yourself in the position of dealing with it, it can feel very overwhelming. If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice, here’s what you can do to help build your case for a medical malpractice lawsuit:
Document Your Case
It’s very important that you take detailed notes about everything related to your case, such as how you’re feeling each day, how your injury has directly impacted your life, what medications you’re taking, who you talk to about your case, when you talked to them, and what was discussed. Don’t worry about feeling like you’re being too detailed; if it relates to your case, it’s important information. If you can photograph your injuries, go ahead and do that. In situations like these, it’s very easy for details to get mixed up or forgotten, so don’t try to rely on your memory.
Request Your Medical Records
Your medical records are a crucial part of any medical malpractice case. Under HIPAA, you have a legal right to request copies of your medical records. You do not have to state why you want copies of your records and you’re able to request virtually any type of record a healthcare professional might have on file for you, such as X-rays, lab test results, and general notes from your doctor. Depending on how many doctors or specialists you’ve been seeing, you may have to request your records from a few different places to get all the records you need.
Requests for medical records need to be granted within 30 days and you may be charged some reasonable fees for your records, such as administrative fees or copying costs. Once you receive your records, look through them to make sure they’re complete.
If you’re able to request medical records yourself, it’s best to so rather than have a lawyer do it for you. It’s not unheard of for doctors to try altering records if they think a medical malpractice lawsuit might be coming.
Contact an Attorney
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s very important to contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Medical malpractice cases can be very complicated and there are a lot of limitations and requirements a case needs to meet, so a lawyer will be able to help make sure your case is handled properly.