What You Can Do To Protect Your Case
Injuries caused by medical malpractice can result in lifelong pain, suffering and expenses. Because of this, if you believe that you or a family member may have been the victim of medical malpractice, it is critical to understand what you can do to protect your case and your rights.
1. Report The Incident
Accredited hospitals have an obligation to investigate all serious medical incidents and respond to reports of malpractice. Because of this, it’s important to make a report as soon as possible. Ask to receive updates and copies of all documents produced during the process.
2. Obtain A Copy Of Your Medical Records
Under federal law, you have a legal right to your medical records. Following any incident, contact the doctor’s office or hospital’s medical records department and request a copy. You will need to provide proper identification to pick up these records. (Note, frequently there are charges associated with obtaining medical records.)
Note: If a family member has died, ask for a copy of the forensic report in addition to the medical record. Additionally, as a family member, you may have the right to request an autopsy. In some cases, you may need to hire an independent investigator to perform the procedure.
3. Start A Journal And Document Everything
Take this step from the start. Record daily activities limited by your injury and make note of all doctor appointments. Documentation is always worthwhile. Save all bills, payment receipts and records.
4. Consult A Reliable Medical Malpractice Attorney
To take your case to the next level, it may be best to have an experienced medical malpractice law firm on your side. An attorney will be able to advise which steps you should take, will assist in obtaining proper records and will be able to give you an idea of the compensation you deserve.
Out of all the steps listed above, contacting a qualified medical malpractice lawyer could be the most important. Having a professional on your side will ensure the best possible outcome and will make the process as simple as possible.
5. If An Insurance Company Contacts You Or Asks You To Release Your Records, Consult Your Attorney
In cases of medical malpractice, it is best to speak with your attorney prior to speaking with an insurance agency. Do not sign anything or agree to any settlement without proper legal advice.
6. Respect The Statute Of Limitations
A statute of limitations does apply to medical malpractice cases, so time is of the essence when deciding how to proceed following a medical error.
In Pennsylvania, a medical malpractice lawsuit must generally be filed within two years of the death or injury. There are certain exceptions and nuances to this rule that a medical malpractice attorney can explain to you.