Why You Must Act Quickly to Pursue Legal Action
A medical mistake turns your world upside down. The immediate aftermath of a birth injury, misdiagnosis, or another tragic event can overwhelm you. The harm you or a loved one suffered is not fair, and civil action against those liable is the surest way to obtain the compensation you need to recover as well as prevent another patient from suffering similar harm. If you decide to pursue a medical malpractice case, however, you must act quickly.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
Civil lawsuits must meet certain requirements as outlined by state laws. The time allowed for filing a civil lawsuit depends upon the type of case pursued and can differ among personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice cases.
The standard statute of limitation for filing a medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania is two years. It is often possible to file a lawsuit beyond this deadline if you did not immediately discover the harm.
When you suffer serious harm at the hands of a trusted medical provider, time becomes a blur. The day of the week or the number of weeks can confuse you as you deal with your recovery. If your experience caused permanent harm or resulted in the death of a loved one, a year can pass before you know it.
It is easy to lose track of time as you deal with physical, emotional, psychological, and financial stress. Preparing your case for settlement negotiation and a possible trial is not accomplished overnight. Your lawyer, for example, needs time to investigate the cause of your harm and to identify those liable for your damages. Balancing the short amount of time allowed for filing your case and building a strong argument for compensation is why you may want to contact a lawyer immediately. Failure to take quick action can cause you to miss the deadline for filing your lawsuit, leaving you with no other recourse for legal action.
Certificate of Merit
In states like Pennsylvania, the law requires that a certificate of merit accompany your lawsuit. This document includes information from a licensed medical professional who states —upon a careful review of your claim —that a failure is probable in delivering duty of care.
This important document is why attempting to navigate your case alone is not wise. The complexity of your medical mistake and the effects of unnecessary procedures, treatments, and other factors leave you neither the time nor the energy to deal with your case.
Medical malpractice attorneys understand state laws and how to negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement. The details of your case demand special attention, something your condition may likely prohibit.
What Medical Malpractice Generally Means
It is important to understand the various types of medical malpractice to determine if you are a victim. Medical malpractice involves a duty of care medical professionals owe patients. When they breach this duty of care, they are typically negligent and possibly liable for your damages.
Types of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis: Seeking medical attention for your ailment or injury should not result in a misdiagnosis. The wrong diagnosis not only fails to treat your original condition but can also lead to a wrong course of treatment.
- Unnecessary treatment: The side effects of unnecessary treatment can compound your health problems. Side effects from cancer treatments, for example, may cause hair and weight loss from chemotherapy or painful side effects from radiation.
- Prescription medication mistakes: A prescription medication mistake such as an improper dosage amount or the wrong drug administered to the wrong patient can result in harm or possible death.
- Poor communication among multiple providers: A breakdown or lack of communication between multiple healthcare providers can result in devastating outcomes for patients of all ages.
- Surgical instruments left in patients: An astonishing 4,500 to 6,000 foreign objects are left in patients after surgery every day in the United States. The objects include such items as sponges and surgical instruments.
- Wrong-site surgery: A surgery to the wrong limb or organ is often referred to as a never event —and event that should never happen.
A tired or distracted physician or other medical provider is no excuse for hurting you or a loved one. Most medical mistakes are preventable had the healthcare provider exercised a duty of care.
Medical treatment is expensive enough without the added costs of a mistake. When the mistake is due to no fault of your own, you should not be on the hook for those expenses.
The Value of a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
No one seeks medical assistance expecting to experience a new injury or the death of a loved one. Medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care, and when they breach that care, accountability is essential for preventing a repeat of the same mistake.
A medical malpractice lawyer is on your side. The knowledge that someone is protecting your best interests against large insurance companies is invaluable to you as a client. The medical industry often employs its own legal teams to fight malpractice cases. Their insurance companies are often highly skilled in denying or attempting to underpay patients what they need.
What you suffered was unexpected and resulted in medical costs you should not pay. A medical malpractice lawyer can fight for the justice you or a loved one so rightly deserve. While a lawyer aggressively represents you, they can provide you with updates regarding your case. Their approach with clients differs significantly from how they handle your case.
Medical malpractice cases can often lead to important changes in medical safety and training. Holding the medical industry accountable for their reckless actions, you must prevent the same mistake from ever happening again.
What Insurance Companies Do Not Want You to Know
Insurance companies are often aggressive when it comes to pressuring patients harmed by malpractice. Their tactics are generally designed to convince you to accept a far less settlement than you deserve.
Most insurance companies want to discuss a settlement with you before you hire legal representation. This is to protect their best interests and not yours. If they can convince you to accept the amount offered, they can quickly close your claim and protect their profits.
Your financial stress during this time is understandable. A medical mistake can prevent you from working, either temporarily or permanently. A settlement offer may seem like the answer to your problems. Accepting such an offer can actually create more problems for you and your family.
There is no way to predict the full impact of the mistake. You or a loved one may face future surgeries or experience complications that require lengthy hospital stays and treatments.
Paying for unexpected medical needs that arise may prove challenging if you accepted a settlement offer. The insurance company closes your claim upon acceptance of the initial settlement offer. This typically means you may not pursue legal action later, should your condition worsen.
This is an important detail that can escape your notice during this crucial time. Your medical condition, no matter how serious, is no time to make a serious financial decision alone. Contacting a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal options can help you learn more about moving forward correctly. If an insurance company contacts you, refer them to your lawyer and do not sign any documents.
Medical Mistakes That Result in Death
The shocking news that a loved one died due to a medical mistake is hard to comprehend. It is a moment where your life changes forever. This heartbreaking loss can leave you feeling numb and overwhelmed.
Planning a funeral or memorial service, informing family, and mourning your loved one consumes your time. The days and weeks fly by, leaving you little time to consider legal action.
The bills you receive concerning your loved one’s death are unexpected expenses you should not pay. A funeral alone can cost thousands of dollars, a fee you may not possess the funds to pay.
Depending upon your relationship with the decedent, you may qualify for pursuing a wrongful death case. Typical relationships in such cases involve such loved ones as a spouse, parent, or children. A medical malpractice lawyer can determine if you meet the requirements for civil action on behalf of your deceased loved one.
Quick action regarding your loved one’s death may seem impossible. The weight of your situation can overwhelm you as you attempt to move forward with your life. By contacting a medical malpractice lawyer to assist you through this difficult time, you will not feel so alone.
Medical Malpractice Cases Require Quick Action
The longer you wait to contact a lawyer, the more time for witnesses to forget details or for evidence to become lost, or worse, for the statute of limitations to expire. Investigating your case right away is imperative for your medical malpractice claim.
You can assist your lawyer by providing them with any information you may possess. Medical records and the contact information for witnesses are just two examples of evidence that is often helpful in civil claims and lawsuits.
Insurance companies and opposing lawyers may try to blame you for your or a loved one’s medication mistake or injury. A lawyer can protect you against such allegations by handling communications with the defendant and their representatives.
Legal representation affords you to rest and to concentrate on your immediate needs. Most medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. What this means for you is that there is no retainer or deposit required.
Civil law is different from criminal law. If your medical provider is criminally charged, their criminal case has no bearing on your civil case. While a criminal conviction may hold them accountable, it likely does nothing to cover your damages.
While compensation in a civil case is never promised, it is worth pursuing when you experience harm due to negligence.
Consider Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim
A free case evaluation is the simplest way to learn if you have a case for legal action. There is no obligation, and you will find that the right lawyers are friendly, approachable, and strive to explain legal topics in a way that is easy to understand.
Medical malpractice requires a specific focus and strategy. An attorney skilled in this form of law is not only helpful, it can provide the support you seek during this challenging time.
Failing to observe the statute of limitations may bar you from obtaining the justice you deserve. The clock generally begins ticking the moment you discover the medical mistake that caused your harm. The same is true when the result is the death of a loved one. As soon as you discover a medical mistake, pursue a medical malpractice claim as soon as possible by calling a medical malpractice lawyer.