Medical professionals are human like everyone else, so they make mistakes. Fortunately, most mistakes are minor or readily treatable. However, sometimes a doctor orders the wrong test or a pharmacist dispenses an unneeded prescription. Mistakes like these can harm the patient. Some patients must consider if and when to file a lawsuit, which will necessitate medical evaluation supported by a medical malpractice expert witness. Here are a few questions to consider.
1. How extensive is the patient’s resulting damage?
A medical mistake
that costs the patient additional time off the job or more medical expenses, including deductibles and copays, may require a detailed investigation to see whether these costs are attributable to the medical professional’s error.
2. Are there still uncertain factors about the patient’s condition?
If the malpractice-related injuries have been comprehensively diagnosed and are certified by an independent medical practitioner to be completely healed and require no follow-up treatment, the resulting damages can be evaluated for the legal claim. But if symptoms continue to manifest occasionally, ongoing treatment may be required, which will factor into the claim. A medical malpractice expert witness
may need to review documentation to offer a professional opinion as to whether the patient’s recurrent condition is related to the original malpractice.
3. Do related issues impact the patient’s well-being?
For example, even if the patient is considered healed from the medical malpractice injury, difficulty in exercising, eating the same diet as before, or relating to family members on the same basis as previously could become considerations in a legal claim. The medical malpractice attorney can help a patient to assess lifestyle changes that may result from the malpractice.
4. Is the patient prepared for a long legal process?
Even with a clear diagnosis and a complete set of documents, the road to courtroom litigation
is long and demanding. Various legal processes that may include depositions and hearings can be time-consuming and frustrating. Patients need to decide based on the scope of their damages whether they are willing to comply with a detailed legal process.
5. Will the patient comply with legal requirements?
Documents may need to be provided beyond what the attorney will request, following the patient’s signed medical release. Participation in meetings and hearings is expected. Settlements might be offered, and the patient will need to decide if and when to accept any of these offers. Although the goal may be a courtroom victory, most cases are settled out of court.
Filing a medical malpractice claim is an effective way to pursue legal justice for damages resulting from another person or entity’s errors. However, litigation can be complex, so it is important for patients to consider the ramifications in choosing this path.