How Do I Prepare for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
By: Kesha Brooks
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How Do I Prepare for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Every year, thousands of patients suffer serious, potentially life-threatening injuries and health complications as a result of medical errors. While health care providers are human and capable of making mistakes, many of these errors are the result of medical negligence and could have been prevented if the health care professional provided the standard of care that another medical professional would have provided under similar circumstances. If you suffered an injury or a serious health complication as a result of a negligent medical error, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
How Should I Prepare for My Meeting with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Once you have made the decision to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is highly recommended that you hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Before your initial consultation, there are a range of items you should consider that will make the meeting as helpful and productive as possible.
- Consider the reason why you are filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to have a successful medical malpractice claim, your injury or health complication must be the result of negligence. That means that you will not have a valid claim simply because you were not happy with the treatment you received.
- The negligence must have resulted in an injury. Even if you believe that your health care provider was negligent, you will not have a valid malpractice claim if you did not suffer an injury. You must be able to prove that your health care provider breached the standard of care, and that the breach in care caused your injury, which resulted in financial damages.
- Collect as much evidence as possible. During the initial consultation with your attorney, you will have the opportunity to explain the details of your case and why you believe that your injury or health complication was the result of medical negligence. Make a list of doctors, nurses and other health care providers who treated you. Be prepared to summarize, in writing, the treatment you received from each health care provider, and provide as much documentation as possible, including relevant correspondences, medical records, lab results, surgical notes and reports from specialists, if applicable.
- Be honest about the damages you suffered. It is important that your lawyer understands the full extent of the physical, mental, and emotional injuries you suffered as a result of the malpractice. Write a detailed list of your injuries and be sure to include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical expenses related to medical negligence, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity and loss of retirement benefits. Non-economic benefits include the pain and suffering caused by the health care provider’s negligence.
- Consider filing a certificate of merit. This is a statement from a licensed professional who is in the same field as the physician or health care provider named in your medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to file a certificate of merit, you will need to contact a medical expert. The medical expert will thoroughly review your medical records and determine whether negligence was involved. If the health care provider certifies that the health care provider deviates from the standard of care, your lawyer will file the certificate of merit, which confirms that your claim has merit.
- Important documents you should bring. As you prepare for you meeting with your medical malpractice lawyer, be sure to bring photographs of your injuries, copies of medical bills and receipts, medical records and test results, any letters from the treating hospital and health care provider, and detailed notes or records you made about your injuries or health issues caused by the medical negligence.
- Understand the statute of limitations. In Ohio, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within one year of the date that you were injured. If you miss this deadline, your claim will likely be denied and you will be unable to recover damages.
- Ask questions. Unless you have a legal background, you will likely have a lot of questions about what to expect from a medical malpractice lawsuit. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the process, your lawyer’s experience, how many medical malpractice cases they have won, the settlement you can expect to receive, etc.
- Try to remain calm. When we put our trust in the hands of a health care provider and that trust is broken, it can be very difficult to talk about, particularly when you suffered a serious injury or health complication. It is in your best interest to remain calm and level-headed so that you can discuss the details of your case with your medical malpractice lawyer in a calm and rational manner. If your case goes to court and you have to take the stand, be prepared to speak calmly and clearly, answer the questions as succinctly as possible.
Dayton Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC Represent Victims of Medical Negligence
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or health complication as a result of medical negligence, you are urged to contact the Dayton medical malpractice lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC as soon as possible. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 937-222-7477 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Dayton, Ohio, where we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.