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Do You Suspect Medical Malpractice? 6 Questions You Should Ask

Medical Form and Stethoscope with Gavel

Medical malpractice is highly case- and fact-specific; only an attorney can tell you whether you have a case. A negative medical outcome does not necessarily mean malpractice occurred. In fact, even a  mistake doesn't mean medical malpractice occurred. Here are some questions you should ask yourself and your lawyer about your case, before deciding to move forward with your suit. 

1. Who Caused the Situation?

There are many people involved in any medical treatment. Consider a situation in which the wrong prescription was taken. Did the doctor fill the wrong prescription? Did the nurse hand out the wrong prescription? Did the pharmacy fill the bottle with the wrong dosage? Or was the medication itself improperly processed? Your first step is identifying the person who was responsible for the negligence or mistake that led to the malpractice. 

2. When Did the Malpractice Occur?

Based on your state, there are time limits associated with medical malpractice suits. In some states, it is as low as a year. If you experienced medical malpractice, you need to start the process of a lawsuit as quickly as possible. If the medical malpractice has already passed, you should consult with a lawyer regarding whether there may be any mitigating circumstances or whether further instances of medical malpractice may have occurred. 

3. What Were Your Damages?

It should be noted that a medical malpractice suit requires damages to actually occur. If you, for instance, were given the wrong prescription but did not take that prescription, then no actual damages occurred to you. You need to be able to outline the direct impact of the medical malpractice on your health. Likewise, emotional damages can also be difficult to sue for and to gain restitution for successfully. 

4. What Evidence Do You Have?

A case is going to need solid documentation of malpractice or negligence as proof. If you have no solid evidence, your case is going to be substantially more difficult. It isn't impossible; your lawyer may know where to look to get the documents that you need. But not having evidence on your own is likely going to increase the expenses of the case, which is something that you should consider. You should get together  any evidence you have. 

5. Was Your Outcome Unexpected?

One of the easiest ways to tell whether a medical malpractice case is legitimate is to ask yourself the question: was the outcome unexpected? If someone, unfortunately, passed away during a surgery that has a 10% chance of success, then that outcome was expected. (Of course, there can still be negligence and mitigating factors.) But if someone passed away during a surgery that had a 90% chance of success, this is more likely to be a viable case. 

6. How Expensive Will It Be?

Your medical malpractice firm should be able to work with you to provide an estimate of the costs and to figure out the best way for you to move forward. A firm that is specialized in malpractice understands that you will have medical bills and other associated costs to cover and that it may be difficult for you to pay substantial legal fees. Consequently, a firm is also going to give you the best advice regarding whether you actually have a case.

Remember: you should consider the answers to these questions strongly and discuss them with a medical malpractice attorney. But you should not discuss them directly with the doctor or the hospital. Once you feel you have a medical malpractice case, you should communicate only with your attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Janice Maloney today to find out more.