Being harmed by medical malpractice is similar to being seriously injured as a result of a car accident that is not your fault – you cannot predict when it may happen to you, you are never prepared for the injuries and pain you may suffer due to someone else’s fault, you are left frightened by the unknown of how you and your family will cope with the unexpected expenses and loss of income, and your plans for the future may be forever put on hold or altered. However, there are many important differences between being the victim of a serious car accident and being the victim of medical malpractice.
5 Things You Should Do If You Suspect That You May Be The Victim Of Medical Malpractice
1. Get A Second Opinion. If you believe that your medical provider may have done something to you that he shouldn’t have done, or failed to provide you with treatment that he should have provided, and you have been seriously injured as a result, it is important that you promptly seek a second opinion (and a third opinion, if you are not satisfied with the results of the second opinion) from a qualified medical provider to review your medical condition and the medical care you received, and to advise you regarding the care and treatment you presently need and may need in the future to address your medical issues (including a thorough discussion of all options and alternative care that may be available to you). Delay in obtaining a second opinion about your medical condition and treatment from an unbiased, competent, uninvolved medical expert may result in your medical malpractice injury becoming worse and lasting longer than anticipated.
2. Document your malpractice injuries. If you suspect that medical malpractice may be the cause of your suffering, document your injuries as soon as possible and as often as necessary. If your injuries are visible, such as bed sores due to inadequate care, swelling, discoloration, or physical disfigurement, take photographs and videos that accurately depict the injuries (if you subsequently file a medical malpractice claim for your injuries, chances are that your injuries will not look the same at the time the claim is filed or a jury hears your case — the photographs and videos will help the jury understand the extent of your pain and suffering and help establish a timeline for your injuries; as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words). However, do not share the photographs and videos with anyone except your medical malpractice attorneys — and never post them (or comments regarding your medical malpractice claim or your injuries) on Facebook or other social media.
3. Obtain a complete and accurate copy of your entire medical chart as soon as possible. You, the patient, are entitled to obtain a copy of your medical records in most U.S. states — the cost of obtaining your entire medical chart may be high but the investment in obtaining your entire medical records as soon as possible after you suspect medical malpractice has occurred may become priceless if a claim for medical malpractice is subsequently filed. It is not uncommon that medical records are altered, amended, supplemented, or otherwise changed once a medical malpractice claim is anticipated or received by a medical provider, even if the medical records are electronic (changes to electronic medical records are often discoverable by appropriate means). Obtain a copy of all of your medical records for all treatment you received from the medical provider, including the records the provider received from others, and do not limit your request for records to those related to the suspected negligent treatment (the medical malpractice defendant may argue that a record from another date or another medical provider is relevant to your medical malpractice claim).
4. Do not discuss your medical malpractice claim with anyone other than your medical malpractice lawyer. Like the warning given to criminal suspects, “anything you say can and will be used against you.” Once sued for medical malpractice, your physician or other health care provider will do anything necessary to protect his reputation and financial interests, including alleging that you or a family member made statements that negate your malpractice claim. While you cannot prevent a dishonest defendant alleging that you said something that you didn’t say, or that you failed to say something that you did say, do not provide your own statement that may be taken out of context or is inartfully stated. Also, it is not unheard of for a neighbor, a co-worker, or even a family member to be called to testify on behalf of a medical malpractice defendant at trial as to what he was told by you that may not be accurately recalled by him or may have been misinterpreted by him.
5. Consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. If you suspect that you or a family member may have been injured (or worse) by medical malpractice, consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer promptly — the sooner, the better — because a delay may result in important relevant information regarding what happened to you becoming unavailable, unattainable, or irretrievably changed, thereby detrimentally affecting the outcome of your valid medical malpractice claim. Just like a medical condition for which early evaluation and treatment may make the difference between a full recovery or a permanent disability, consulting as soon as possible with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in your state regarding your potential medical malpractice claim may be the difference between receiving fair and just compensation for your medical malpractice injuries or being left without the financial resources to obtain necessary future medical care for your medical malpractice injuries or financial support for you and your family because of your medical malpractice disabilities.
If you or a loved one may have been injured or otherwise harmed by medical malpractice in the United States, click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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