Handling a medical malpractice claim is a sensitive matter. It is important to know what steps to take and when. While your first instinct might tell you to contact top medical malpractice attorneys right away, there are other steps you should take first, to compile the best case possible.
Contact the Medical Professional
Before you do anything, it is important to contact the medical professional you feel acted or behaved with negligence. You must give them the opportunity to rectify the situation. This could entail giving you free care or referring you to a medical professional who will correct the the mistake. If you feel no satisfactory remedy is reached, take your next steps.
Contact an Attorney
This is a good time to look for attorneys and seeking consultation. Take time to shop around for a lawyer experienced in the area of malpractice for which you seek to file a claim. Meet with them before making a decision to hire. Your attorney informs you of the statute of limitations for your type of claim. It is important that you understand just how much time you have to file claims. The exact limitations vary from state to state, and from one medical professional to the next. It also depends on when you first become aware of the injuries pertaining to the medical care received.
Contact Licensing Board
While it is not possible for such a board to force a medical professional to compensate you with money, they take the appropriate disciplinary actions. If a licensing board does take action on your behalf, it strengthens your case in court. No board wants to take action against a physician, unless strong evidence of negligence exists.
Get a Certificate of Merit
If both an attorney and a licensing board feel you have a case, it is a good start. However, it is not the only thing required. Guided by your attorney, it is important to go to a physician to seek a certificate of merit. A qualified physician will examine you or your claims, to see if there is merit to the case of malpractice, before you can continue with your claim in court.
Settlement is a Victory
If you took all the above steps, and you prepared to proceed to court, do not rule out the possibility of a settlement. While typical settlements amount to less than winning a case, you do not have to cover expensive attorney fees. Often, your settlement is faster and more lucrative, after considering court and attorney fees.