When an employee messes up your order at a fast food restaurant, it’s frustrating, but understandable. When a medical professional makes a mistake, it’s unacceptable. Research from Johns Hopkins University found that “10 percent of all U.S. deaths are now due to medical error.” Their research also found that it’s the third highest cause of death, and many cases are not recognized as such.
Medical professionals need to be held accountable for their mistakes, so if you suspect that you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to take the right steps to rectify the situation.
Here’s what you can and should do.
Call an Attorney
The very first step before you approach the hospital about the problem should be to call your attorney. You don’t want to contact the hospital so that they build up their defenses before you have a case. Let your attorney do the heavy lifting and contact the hospital for you.
An attorney is absolutely essential in a medical malpractice case. “Unlike many other forms of negligence, a medical malpractice case involves a highly complex set of standards,” explain the attorneys at Serious Injury Law Group in Montgomery, AL. “In general, you must prove the applicable standard of care. You also must show that the health care professional failed to meet that standard of care. This can be challenging. The standard of care is somewhat subjective and requires other similarly licensed and trained health care providers to testify about what went wrong.”
Speaking with an attorney enables you to build up your case and perform the associated steps for pressing charges in the correct order.
Seek a Second Opinion
Whether a mistake is obvious or it’s simply suspicious, you’ll want a second opinion from a qualified medical professional to present as evidence in court. They’ll need to assess the mistake to determine whether or not it could have been prevented.
Seek a top-rated specialist to corroborate your claims. They’ll want to review your medical records, perform tests, and conduct background research before giving you a diagnosis and identifying any medical errors. The second doctor will also do the best they can to help you heal.
Write Everything Down
Keep a detailed record of everything you’ve gone through, the pain you’re experiencing, and what’s happening day to day. This may come in handy during the proceedings.
According to FindLaw.com, a “personal diary could arguably contain relevant evidence. Legally, under the rules of evidence and discovery, a party is entitled to inspect and copy any and all documents that could potentially lead to the discovery of useful evidence to support their case or position. While a diary is going to be considered hearsay, there are numerous exceptions to hearsay rules that would allow a diary’s use in court.”
The journal could be used to identify both physical and emotional symptoms related to an injury. It could also show the difference between life before and after the injury to demonstrate that a medical malpractice mistake was life-altering.
Don’t Blab About the Issue
Other than confiding in close confidants, legal professionals, or a new healthcare provider, it’s important to keep your suspicions to yourself. It can feel good to vent about it to everyone who will listen, but this could cause problems with your case down the road.
Most importantly, don’t talk about it online! The things you say on social media can be used against you in a court of law. If you really need to vent, find a trustworthy friend or family member who won’t blab.
Taking the proper steps during a medical malpractice claim is essential to helping you win your case. Most importantly, contact a medical malpractice attorney in your state who can facilitate your case and help you through this trying time.