Not long after the operation, you’re not healing correctly or another injury or illness has manifested and it dawns on you: Your doctor may have committed medical malpractice. It’s a frightening realization, but understand that you have a limited time frame to pursue a claim. Therefore, it’s important to know what to do next.
1. Determine If It’s Medical Malpractice
Unfortunately, not every instance in which a procedure doesn’t have the desired outcome is malpractice. Instead, it could be an instance of negligence or your body rejecting recovery.
Malpractice, by definition, is when a doctor doesn’t follow the standard of care and that oversight directly results in a harmful error. As a result of these factors, certain issues weaken your case: If you properly recovered or aren’t worse off than you were, malpractice will be difficult to prove.
Rather, certain factors point more blatantly toward medical malpractice:
- Did your injuries result in expensive, ongoing care?
- Were the ramifications serious, such as having a stroke or losing a limb and required corrective procedures or therapy?
- Did the procedure result in permanent damage?
- If you weren’t informed of all the risks associated with a procedure up front or didn’t sign a form stating the risks.
- If the form listed some risks and not others, preventing you from making an informed decision.
- If you developed one risk, even if you signed a form, and the doctor ignored you or took no action.
2. Seek Medical Attention and Report the Issue
If you haven’t already, report the problem to the doctor. If you need some kind of corrective treatment, seek it from a different physician.
Additionally, some recommend filing a complaint with the state’s medical board against the original doctor to start an investigation and possibly seek disciplinary action.
3. Determine If Your Claim Falls Within Your State’s Statute of Limitations
Typically, states’ statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice claims fall within two to three years. However, this isn’t always clear: This could be two years from discovering when the doctor committed malpractice to three years from when the procedure was performed.
4. Present Your Claim to a Malpractice Attorney
Once you believe you have a case, reach out to a medical malpractice attorney, such as the staff at Trantolo & Trantolo. In these instances, be ready to tell the attorney everything about the procedure, from the time you first met with the doctor to any following treatment. Further, it’s recommended that you have your medical records available.
To start pursuing your claim before the statute of limitations expires, meet with Trantolo & Trantolo’s malpractice lawyers to see if you have a case. Contact any of our locations today.