Three Keys to Winning a Malpractice Lawsuit
When you seek medical treatment, you do so with the reasonable expectation that your health will be taken care of correctly and that you will feel better after your treatment. However, in the case of medical malpractice and negligence, the outcome of your medical treatment may result in worse injuries – or even devastating consequences like disability or death. If this is true for you, then it may be in you and your family’s best interest to file a malpractice lawsuit with an experienced Baltimore attorney. But how can you win this type of lawsuit? If you think that winning a medical malpractice claim is a challenge, then you would be correct. Receiving compensation for a medical malpractice claim is notoriously difficult, but an experienced attorney will know the strategies to help build your case so you can see justice. Here are a few keys to winning your case.
Three Keys to Winning a Malpractice Lawsuit
1. Hire an Experienced Attorney
Hiring an experienced attorney for your medical malpractice lawsuit is essential. An experienced attorney will have a deep understanding of the cross-section between the law and medical circumstances related to negligence and patient injury. You should always be sure that the attorney you hire has tried medical malpractice cases successfully before, as this will be proof of the attorney’s skills. Furthermore, an experienced attorney will have more than a track record to speak for them – they will also have knowledge about local laws and precedents that can be used in your case. A local experienced attorney will be well-versed in the laws and legal statutes that can tip the scales of justice rightfully in your favor.
2. Collect Evidence
You will need to prove a few things in order to qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, you will need to attest that your injury occurred as a result of medical practice, such as a recovery period that is longer than expected or an unexpected result from medical treatment. You will also need evidence that proves negligence, such as medical records or testimony from other medical professionals. The core of a medical malpractice case is proving that there was a deviation from the standard of care in the treatment you received. The standard of care is the basic accepted actions and treatments that you should receive from the healthcare workers who treated you. Deviation from expected practices could indicate that there was a breach in your treatment that caused your injury. Some examples of deviations from the standard of care include:
- Not explaining a treatment or treatment risks
- Failure to diagnose
- Experimental medical treatments
- Unattended during emergency treatment
3. Seek Expert Consultations
The evidence in your medical records and testimony from the physician or other healthcare workers involved in your treatment will only get your case so far. Sometimes, it’s necessary for your legal team to consult with experts, such as other medical professionals, to assess whether or not the standard of care has been breached in your case. A medical professional will be able to identify the correct or standard treatments you should have received, which can then be used to prove that the healthcare worker who treated you was negligent or reckless with your care. Expert consultation may also include independent medical evaluations. An IME is a medical examination from a physician not involved in your case; during this examination, the physician will collect information about your injury and the treatments you need for ongoing recovery to reach a conclusion about your overall suffering. IMEs are frequently used as evidence in malpractice cases, particularly where there is contested evidence.
Why Are These Cases Hard to Win?
Winning a medical malpractice suit can be difficult for a number of reasons. First and foremost, when these cases reach a jury, the jury may likely sympathize with the doctor unless gross negligence was taken in your case. This is because physicians are sympathetic defendants and jurors are predisposed to believe that a physician would never willfully harm a patient. However, if a pattern of negligent behavior can be established, then it may be possible to shift the favorable position of the physician. The second reason malpractice claims are hard to win is the fact that many people try to file claims that do not qualify as medical malpractice. It’s a matter of fact that some medical treatments can result in expected injuries. For example, during emergency CPR to save a life, a medical professional may break a rib during chest compressions. In this situation, the broken ribs would likely not qualify as medical malpractice.
Another reason why medical malpractice claims are hard to win is that it can sometimes be difficult to determine who is responsible for your injuries. Most people automatically assume that physicians are liable for all medical injuries, but the truth may be more complicated. It’s possible that the physician is only partially responsible or that the hospital is at fault for your injuries. Part of building your case will be determining who is liable for your injuries.
What Are Examples of Medical Malpractice Claims?
So, what does qualify as medical malpractice? There are a few specific categories where injuries sustained during medical treatment are point-blank unacceptable. If any of these situations apply to your injuries, then it’s possible you have suffered from a breach in the standard of care that resulted in your injuries. These categories for medical malpractice claims include:
- Birth injuries
- Surgical Errors
- Emergency room errors
- Medication errors
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Hospital infections
In any of these situations, you or your loved one could suffer from injuries, medical complications, disability, or even death. In Baltimore, you have up to five years from the date of the injury or three years after the discovery of the injury to make your medical malpractice claim. After that, as the victim, you will not be able to seek any compensation for your injuries.
What Is the Process for Malpractice Cases?
No matter the specific type of medical malpractice claim you are making, all malpractice cases have the same general process. The first step of your case will be submitting your malpractice claim to the medical board that oversees the medical professional in your claim. The medical board will review your claim and determine whether or not the medical professional is liable for your injury; if approved, your legal team will be contacted and your case will move forward. Next, you will file your claim with the court and work on building your case with your legal team. Evidence will be gathered, along with opinions from other medical professionals. Then, you and your legal team will discuss the type of compensation you expect to receive for your injuries. The degree of your compensation is determined by the severity of your suffering, whether your injury is permanent, and many other factors. While winning a medical malpractice claim may be challenging, it’s not impossible. With the right legal strategy, you can receive compensation for the injuries you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice and negligence. For more information about filing a malpractice lawsuit in Baltimore, MD, please contact Peter Angelos Law today.