When illness or injury requires that you visit a physician or go to the hospital, you can generally rest assured that a medical professional’s years of experience and training will result in proper treatment. At the same time, medical care providers are only human, and serious errors can occur.
Negligence by a medical professional can include an error in diagnosis, treatment, or illness management. If such negligence results in injury to a patient, a legal case for medical malpractice can arise against:
- The doctor, if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted standards of practice;
- The hospital for improper care or inadequate training, such as problems with medications or sanitation;
- Local, state or federal agencies that operate hospital facilities.
Medical malpractice laws are designed to protect patients’ rights to pursue compensation if they are injured as a result of negligence. However, malpractice suits are often complex and costly. Therefore, if you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, it is important to consult an attorney.
It is important to note that even if you have a valid claim, you lose your ability to file a lawsuit if you wait too long. The general rule is that the claim must be filed within two years after the malpractice occurs, or two years after you reasonably should have known there was malpractice.
Usually, the real decision-maker is the doctor’s insurance carrier (if your doctor is even insured – some are not), and the doctor’s attorney. You will need an experienced professional to help you evaluate your claim.