Taking Your Doctor to Court

Taking Your Doctor to Court: How to Sue for Malpractice and Win

Between 2015 and 2019 about $251 million was spent defending 3,714 claims of malpractice. This works out to an average cost of $67,618 per claim. In 2019 the average cost for defense counsel in a malpractice lawsuit was about $74,532.

Mistakes happen in medical care. This can take place in a hospital, doctor’s office, or any other setting in which you receive medical treatment. If you suffer from a medical error and are wondering if you can sue for malpractice, read on.

What Defines Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to a medical professional who has a lapse in judgment, skill, or coordination of care. They may provide an incorrect diagnosis, treatment, or failure to treat that results in injury or death to the patient. 

Medical negligence is when the medical professional fails to provide treatment by the standards of conduct. 

To sue for medical malpractice you must prove the elements of negligence. The complaint must show that the medical provider had a duty of care to you and that there was a breach in their care. That as a direct and proximate cause of their negligence you suffered an injury.

The final step is to show that because of the doctor’s liability and negligence you are due damages.

Types of Medical Malpractice

There is a wide range of factors that may fall within the realm of medical malpractice. The most common include:

  • Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose an illness or disease
  • Birth Injuries happen when an OB/GYN makes an error during the pregnancy or birth of a child
  • Surgical errors happen when a member of the surgical team leaves tools, clamps, or sponges inside the body
  • Surgeons may operate on the wrong side or do surgery on the wrong patient
  • Failure to treat happens when a doctor makes a correct diagnosis but does not follow the appropriate standard of care
  • A doctor may discharge a patient too soon or not perform follow-up care
  • Prescribing wrong medication

Time Limit to Sue for Malpractice

Every state has a statute of limitations that determines how long you have to sue a doctor for medical malpractice. Most states allow you up to two years, but variations include less and more time periods.

Kentucky statutes only allow one year to file a malpractice lawsuit. By contrast, in Maine and Montana, you have three years. To find out if you can sue for malpractice contact a personal injury attorney to determine your legal rights and prevent missing deadlines.

If you are interested in filing a malpractice lawsuit without the use of an attorney, read on here about the risks you are taking.

How to Sue for Malpractice

When you are the victim of a medical provider’s negligence, keep all your medical records, notes, bills, and any other documents regarding your care. Write down dates, times, names of providers, and what happened to the best of your knowledge.

Contact a medical malpractice attorney and schedule a consultation. The attorney will review your documents and provide you with their legal opinion on your case.

Litigation is lengthy, and your lawsuit may take two years or longer. During that time your attorney will negotiate with insurance companies and opposing attorneys. They will conduct discovery, including depositions, subpoena records, and more.

Once your lawsuit reaches a settlement or you win at trial, your attorney will disburse payments necessary for medical liens, their attorney fees, and court costs. The remaining settlement funds will go to you.

Knowledge Is Power

Now you know the legal time limits, type of cases, and records you must maintain to sue for malpractice. Contact a personal injury attorney to get the process started.

We invite you to take a look at our other blogs. We offer information on a wide variety of topics, and knowledge is power.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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