When individuals and families see doctors, they expect to leave their interactions and visits with positive outcomes. However, some individuals leave those interactions worse off and often wonder whether they have been victims of medical malpractice and negligence. Knowing whether this has happened to you or a loved one can be challenging. This article will help you understand medical negligence and malpractice and what you can do if you suspect that you are a victim.
Medical Negligence and Malpractice
Sometimes the terms medical negligence and medical malpractice are used in the same context, but there are some subtle differences you should be aware of.
Medical professionals are expected to use their professional skills to provide a high level of care. When this standard of care is not met, and patients have adverse outcomes, the cause of those outcomes could be negligence or malpractice.
Medical negligence is a term that describes carelessness and a deviation in the expected standard of care by a medical professional. Negligence is often judged on what a reasonable and similarly skilled professional would have done in a specific situation under specific circumstances. Because there are already standards and procedures in place for numerous circumstances and situations, a deviation could be considered negligence.
Malpractice is a term used when a healthcare professional fails to use their professional in undertaking their duties. If medical negligence causes harm to a patient, such as when a patient receives surgery on the wrong body part, the issue escalates to medical malpractice.
Next, we will look at what you should do if you suspect medical malpractice or negligence has occurred.
Avoid Contacting the Doctor or Healthcare Provider
Do not contact the doctor or medical provider you think is responsible for your injury or harm. In medical negligence cases, you could give them a chance to cover things up, which means you might not have much of a case once they are done doing so.
They may also talk to you long enough to find something to use to defend themselves or convince you not to file a suit. Lastly, they may string you along, telling you they are looking into it and will provide answers soon so that your timeline for filing is ruined or the statute of limitation passes if applicable in your jurisdiction.
Hire a Lawyer Immediately
If you suspect you have been a victim of medical negligence or malpractice, the best thing you can do is get in touch with a lawyer. Doctors have a legal duty to provide the required level of care and ensure the best outcomes for their patients to the best of their abilities. When they fail to do so, it becomes a legal issue, and you might be entitled to compensation for it.
Contacting a solicitor experienced in handling such delicate cases is essential because proving harm can be challenging. The medical negligence compensation solicitors at P.A Duffy & Co can help you with your claim, and you can contact them to chart a way forward.
The first thing a lawyer or solicitor will do is get a detailed account from you and those involved, if they are willing, to find out what happened. You can help them by creating a detailed account of what happened, including the healthcare professionals you saw, when you saw them, and the facilities you visited.
Gathering relevant documentation will take some time, so be patient, and your solicitor will be in touch once they have enough to bring a claim of compensation.
Understanding Your Time Limits
Your lawyer will ensure that they file before deadlines lapse. However, it is crucial that you also know your time limits so you do not bring the case to them when it is too late, and there is little they can do.
Some countries have a statute of limitation, while others have a filing deadline. Find out what applies in your jurisdiction by talking to a solicitor as soon as possible.
Gather All Relevant Documents
Proper documentation is crucial for winning medical negligence cases. Of course, you will have a timeline of everything that has happened by the time you talk to your solicitor or lawyer. It would help to contact your healthcare provider to get additional documentation. Medical records and any relevant bills will be crucial for guiding your case.
You should also collect documentation on other aspects of your claim, such as documented pain levels, how the likely negligence has affected your life, photographs of injuries, and how the harm or injury has impacted your ability to work or do things you used to do in the past.
Avoid Talking About the Case With Anyone Else
You should not discuss the details of the harm or injury or the impending suit with anyone you do not trust. Bashing the medical practitioner publicly or on social media is never a good idea. Doing so could end up hurting your case. Keep the details to yourself and only discuss them with your solicitor or family members, such as those caring for you as you recover.
Follow Up With Your Lawyer
Once you have gathered all the evidence and the solicitor sees you have a good case, the next thing to do is draft a personal injury summons. The summons will detail everything that happened, mainly from your account of what happened, injuries suffered, and other aspects relevant to the case.
The attorney will file the summons for you and likely follow up with you to advise you of how things are going. They will also prepare you for the case, which is appreciated as some people get nervous when the proceedings start.
Find a New Doctor
Some solicitors advise against this, but you should consider finding a new doctor if you need medical help. The second doctor might also advise you on how to reverse what was done by the first.
Medical negligence and malpractice can cause a lot of harm to individuals and their loved ones. If you suspect you are a victim, it is advisable that you start documenting everything and get in touch with a solicitor to see if you can get compensation for your injuries and harm done.
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