Medical malpractice is serious, and it is more common than you might think. By some estimates, one million medication mistakes happen each year in the U.S., not to mention surgical errors, birth injuries, and negligent misdiagnoses. One thing that is sad, however, is that many people who suffer the effects of medical malpractice do not even end up filing cases against the doctors and practitioners who mistreat them. Sometimes this is due to fear or a lack of knowledge, but other times, it's because they wait too long to take action — and either the evidence is gone or the statute of limitations has expired by the time they pursue a case.
You don't want to be one of those people. If you think that you've been the victim of medical malpractice, don't wait. Take these actions ASAP.
1. Go to another doctor.
The doctor you are working with mistreated you — so by no means should you keep working with them. Find a new doctor to continue treating your condition, and have your records forwarded over to them. This will demonstrate to the court that you were serious about being mistreated. On the other hand, if you were to stay with the same doctor, the judge could argue that the negligence could not have possibly been that bad or else you would not have stayed a patient.
Your new doctor should focus on treating the conditions or injuries brought about by the malpractice. The way they write up and treat your condition can be used as evidence in court.
2. Get your medical records.
Make sure you get a copy of your medical records from the doctor or practice where you believe you were mistreated. They legally have to provide you with a copy of your records. You do not need to tell them why you need them; just leave them to assume you need the records to get a second opinion or to show to your insurance company. If you wait too long to seek records, there is a chance they will "go missing" either intentionally or unintentionally before your case makes it to court, and without your medical records, you don't have much evidence on which to build your case.
Keep a hard copy of your records as well as a digital copy so you always have them on hand.
3. Meet with an attorney.
You may hesitate to meet with an attorney because you're still questioning whether you actually have a malpractice case. Well, the best way to find out is to meet with an attorney. They often offer free consultations, so you can find out whether you have a case or not from an expert. If you do have a case, they can help guide you as you collect evidence of your injuries and the way you were mistreated. It's best to have their help from the get-go so you don't make mistakes in your pursuit of the case.
4. Keep a diary of your symptoms.
How much you can sue for will depend on how the malpractice continues to affect your daily life. Are you still in pain? Are you unable to work as much as you used to? Start keeping a diary in which you log how you feel, what treatments you use, how you are healing, and so forth. Use as much detail as possible since this diary will likely be used in court.
Don't let time keep you from filing a medical malpractice case. If you were injured by a doctor, you deserve compensation, and the tips above will help ensure you get it. Reach out to a firm such as R.J. Marzella & Associates, P.C. to learn more.