A medical provider commits malpractice when he or she provides medical treatment that falls below a reasonable standard of care. If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should take four important steps to initiate a malpractice claim. You, or your attorney, must take these steps in order for you to receive fair compensation for your injuries.
1.Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Malpractice cases are often very complex. While you may be able to handle some personal injury cases without a lawyer, you will need to find a skilled attorney to help in your malpractice case. This is especially true if your provider is denying fault. When searching for a malpractice lawyer, make sure to look for a legal professional that:
- Has experience in handling medical malpractice cases, and
- Is successful in taking cases all the way to trial.
2.Obtain Your Medical Records
Once you hire an attorney, he or she will soon obtain your medical records on your behalf. Your lawyer will gather records from every provider that rendered you care. For example, your malpractice attorney will obtain records from:
- The physician that you believe committed malpractice, and
- Any subsequent provider(s) that you saw following the alleged malpractice (for example, physical therapists or radiologists).
With records in hand, your attorney will review them to determine if an act of malpractice likely occurred.
3.Obtain an Expert
Nearly every malpractice case will require the assistance of a qualified medical expert. The expert is typically from the same field of practice as the provider who committed the alleged malpractice. The task of the expert is to review your case and provide an opinion as to whether malpractice occurred. If the expert believes your case involves malpractice, your attorney will retain him or her to testify on your behalf (either at a deposition or at trial).
4.File a Complaint
A complaint is the official legal document that begins a medical malpractice lawsuit. Your attorneys will file the complaint with the court that will hear your case. The complaint is filed against the provider(s) who were allegedly responsible for your malpractice.
Your complaint sets forth a series of allegations that support a case of malpractice. Your attorney usually pulls these allegations from your medical records. The defendant providers in your case have the right to respond to your complaint in the form of a document called an “Answer.”
Please note that Washington law states that you must file a medical malpractice complaint within either:
- Three years after the malpractice occurred that caused your injuries, or
- One year after you discovered or should have discovered the malpractice that caused your injury.
If you do not file a complaint within this time frame, you usually lose your right to file a medical malpractice case.
Contact Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC
Please know that our firm is here to help if you suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s malpractice. Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC provides free consultations to all our potential clients. The attorneys at our law firm also have over 120 years of combined experience representing injured parties in medical malpractice cases. They never back down to insurers and fight for their clients’ interests every step of the way. Do yourself a favor and contact them now for the quality legal representation you deserve.