Six Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If malpractice in a medical setting has left you with injuries, heavy medical bills, or other complications, you may be entitled to compensation from the physician or medical organization that oversaw your care. However, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be difficult, particularly in Missouri, where there are pre-suit requirements that must be met before a claim can be filed with the courts.
Six Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
The best thing you can do for your malpractice claim is to make sure you avoid common mistakes that could disqualify your suit or otherwise delay the progress of your case. So, what are the common mistakes you should avoid?
1. Not Hiring a Lawyer
There are some areas of the law where you might not need to hire a lawyer, such as paying for parking tickets or even filing for single-person bankruptcy. But when it comes to medical malpractice, you will want to have the expertise of an experienced lawyer on your side. Medical malpractice claims are incredibly complex legal cases.
Not only are the medical aspects of your injury or suffering relevant, but so is the way healthcare organizations protect physicians and facilities. In other words, there are a lot of components in a malpractice lawsuit that will require the discerning eye of a lawyer to navigate correctly.
What Happens If You Don’t Hire a Lawyer?
The fact of the matter is this: if you don’t hire a lawyer for your malpractice case, then you likely won’t be seeing a settlement from the insurance company or healthcare organization that will cover the cost of your losses. In fact, without a lawyer, you may not even get to the point where an organization offers you a settlement at all.
However, when you do hire a lawyer experienced with medical malpractice claims, you can rest easy knowing that your case will be handled correctly. By hiring a lawyer, you will be able to focus on your recovery with the confidence that someone is looking out for your interests. You will also be able to avoid mistakes that may compromise your case.
2. Not Evaluating Your Case
Many people assume that any incidents in a medical facility will qualify as a medical malpractice claim, but the truth is that this is not always the case. There are certain merits and criteria that must be met for a claim to qualify for medical malpractice in Missouri. If your case is not properly evaluated and you file a claim that is not qualified for medical malpractice, then you may not be able to win the compensation owed to you.
What Qualifies as Malpractice?
So, what is medical malpractice? In general, medical malpractice is any incident in a healthcare facility or action taken by a healthcare professional that resulted in injury to the patient, either through negligence or omission. For example, malpractice may be not giving medically necessary care to a patient, overlooking patient needs, failing to take appropriate care or other actions that harm the patient. Wrongful death and wrongful surgery are good examples of malpractice.
However, medical malpractice can’t be claimed when, for example, a patient is injured in the process of administering life-saving care. The best example of this is sustaining injured ribs from CPR, which is quite common in emergency room settings. A lawyer will be able to determine if your incident qualifies for medical malpractice or negligence.
3. Not Communicating Clearly With Relevant Parties
Communication is a huge component of a successful lawsuit. During the course of your legal claim, you will need to communicate with insurance companies, the medical facility, and other relevant parties to build your case. However, communicating with some of these parties can compromise your case. For instance, some insurance companies use dubious tactics to devalue your claim.
Without clear communication, your case will suffer. When you hire a legal professional to advocate for your interests on your behalf, the risk of unclear communication or communication that will compromise your case is drastically reduced. In this way, you can be sure that all communication with relevant parties will not negatively impact the outcome of your case.
4. Not Conducting a Thorough Investigation
For any medical malpractice claim, there will be several facts and circumstances surrounding your injuries or your treatment. Many people mistakenly assume that the only aspect of the case with any importance is the injuries themselves. But when a malpractice suit is filed without any context for the sustained injuries, the suit isn’t likely to be successful.
This is why you need the expertise of a legal team to conduct a thorough investigation into the facts surrounding your claim. During an investigation, your legal team will gather witness testimony, uncover relevant documents, review your medical records, and even look into the background of the medical facility or physician to build a strong case.
5. Not Calculating All Valuation for Losses
Calculating the compensation you deserve is a complicated process. For medical malpractice suits, both attorneys and insurance companies will place a certain monetary value on your losses.
Losses can refer to several economic and non-economic factors, such as loss of a relationship, loss of salary, bills associated with medical injuries, emotional distress, and wrongful death. Sometimes, to correctly calculate some factors, lawyers will enlist consultations from experts and specialists to determine a fair monetary value for your claim.
6. Not Negotiating Your Settlement
Negotiating your settlement is the biggest hurdle in any medical malpractice claim. In general, insurance companies representing the medical facility or physician will underestimate your claim to try to give you a lower settlement. However, because your lawyer will understand what is fair compensation for your case, a negotiation will be necessary so you can be treated fairly. Your lawyer will negotiate with your best interests in mind.
When Is Not Negotiating a Mistake?
Insurance companies like to reach out to victims of medical malpractice early to try and finalize a settlement, sometimes even before investigations are complete. Unfortunately, because some people are unaware that speaking with the insurance company can negatively affect their case, this communication is a mistake that may prevent victims from seeking fair compensation outside of court.
How Else Can a Lawyer Help?
If your medical malpractice claim needs to be litigated – taken to court – then you will need the help of an experienced lawyer to argue your case on your behalf. When people who are not represented by a lawyer are taken to court because a settlement in their case cannot be reached, it’s common for cases to be thrown out or for the judge to side with the insurance company on the claim amount. Hiring a lawyer will ensure that your case is handled fairly in the court system.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated cases that involve several relevant parties and deep investigation to determine which factors contributed to the injury of a patient. Legal representation is necessary in these lawsuits because healthcare facilities and insurance companies will be reluctant to award fair compensation for all losses related to the case. For more information about how to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, please contact The Nail Law Firm in Kansas City, MO