Posted on: 5 July 2017Share
Doctors take an oath to do no harm, and it should always be their goal to provide patients with the best care possible. However, doctors are human, and they do sometimes make mistakes. Often, these mistakes qualify as medical malpractice, and you may be able to seek compensation for the damages you've suffered by filing a malpractice lawsuit. However, the process of filing and winning a malpractice case is tricky, and it's important that you follow certain protocols along the way. If you suspect that malpractice has been committed against you or a family member, adhere to these dos and don'ts as you begin working with a lawyer and pursuing your case.
Do: Seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
If you have even the slightest inkling that a mistake was made in your care, leading to injury or suffering, then do not wait to see if things get better before contacting a lawyer. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to come by evidence. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible, and tell them all that you can about your situation. The worst they can say is that you do not, in fact, have a good case. Many malpractice lawyers offer free initial consultations, so you really have nothing to lose.
Don't: Speak to the doctor or hospital without your attorney's permission.
You might be tempted to first reach out to the doctor or hospital administration with your concerns. However, doing so is often a big mistake. This makes the hospital aware that you may be filing a lawsuit, giving them time to "cover their tracks" and perhaps make your case more difficult later on. When they become aware that you suspect malpractice, they may also offer you compensation if you agree not to hire legal counsel. It is never a wise idea to accept this compensation, since it is typically a lot less than you would receive if you go to court. It's best to just avoid saying anything to doctors or hospital staff about your suspicions of malpractice until you have hired a lawyer. Even then, your attorney should handle all communications with the hospital and doctors.
Do: Make note of all individuals who may have been involved in the malpractice.
A malpractice case is not always against the hospital. Sometimes, it is against the doctor himself or herself. Doctors are not typically employees of the hospital they work at; they're often independent contractors. So, if the doctor is the one who made an error in your treatment, the case will be against them. If a nurse or other employee of the hospital made the error, the case will be against the hospital. There are times when cases are made against both parties. So, give your lawyer as detailed a description as possible of who performed what duties during your care. This will help them determine who to file your malpractice case against.
Don't: Dispose of any evidence of your injuries.
To formulate a malpractice case, you and your attorney must not only prove that a mistake was made in your care, but also that the mistake lead to some injury or suffering. If you have no proof that the mistake caused you to suffer, then you will not win your case. So, gather and keep as much evidence of your injuries as possible. Take photos of any injuries as they heal, and date them. Keep receipts for treatments like pain relievers, bandages, and the like. Gather statements from friends who can attest to your pain and suffering.
With a good attorney on your side, you can receive the compensation you deserve after being hurt during medical care. For more information, contact a firm such as Otorowski Johnston Morrow & Golden P.L.L.C.