The Journal of the American Medical Associations lists medical malpractice as third in the leading causes of death in the United States. Medical malpractice comes in right behind cancer and heart disease, and over $3 billion was paid out in 2012 alone for medical malpractice settlements. This is an average of one payout every 43 minutes. If you feel you have been a victim of medical malpractice and that you may have a claim against your healthcare provider, there are a few simple things you should know before you start the process of filing a claim.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Malpractice is defined as any treatment that doesn't meet the standard of care that is expected for the patient. The standard of care is in reference to how another healthcare provider may have treated the patient and their current condition. Basically, if the provider is negligent, he or she may be accused of medical malpractice.
Malpractice situations often end with patients that have debilitating injuries or diseases that could have been prevented had the provider not been negligent. In some severe cases, the patient may ultimately die because of the treatment they received.
Are You A Victim Of Medical Malpractice?
A bad outcome from a surgery or treatment does not mean that you are eligible for medical malpractice. It must be proven that the provider was negligent in providing care and that the patient was unaware of the possible side effects or results of treatments or surgeries.
At times, the costs and emotional stress of fighting a medical malpractice claim may be too high for a doctor or an insurance company to pay, and it may be beneficial for them to settle. If you are offered a settlement, you should always consult medical malpractice lawyers before making your final decision, as you may be entitled to even more money than you originally assumed.
What Should You Do If You Are A Victim?
The first thing you should do when you think you are a victim of medical malpractice is start looking for malpractice lawyers. Your attorney will then complete a review of your case to help you determine if your case stands a chance in court.
Your attorney can also determine if your case if subject to a statute of limitations and if you are outside of this time frame. The statute differs within each state, but your malpractice attorney will have the resources to determine if your case is eligible or not. If your malpractice occurred in a different state from the one in which you currently reside, it may be beneficial to consult an attorney in the state where the malpractice happened.
Avoiding Medical Malpractice
In order to avoid situations where medical malpractice occurs, patients should always be proactive about their medical care. Never take the advice of a health care provider without doing your own research and determining if your treatment plan fits your needs. Never fear the medical system and never be afraid to stand up for yourself and be your own advocate. Although your doctor or nurse may be the expert, you should always listen to your own common sense and pay attention to your own body. If you feel something is wrong, seek a second opinion.
For more information on legal advice regarding medical malpractice, visit AA Accident Attorneys.