When you entrust the care of yourself or a family member to a healthcare professional, the assumption is they will provide the highest levels of expertise along the way. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In many instances a medical error, such as mistake during surgery, misdiagnosis, or other event, can result in tragic consequences. When this happens, it is possible medical malpractice has occurred. If you believe there is a basis to file a medical malpractice claim, here are five facts you should know about these lawsuits, and why it is vital to work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.Malpractice Takes Many Forms
With medical errors accounting for almost 450,000 deaths annually in the United States, they are the third leading cause of death to U.S. residents. However, many patients are unaware medical malpractice takes many forms. From an improper diagnosis that results in a patient dying of cancer, surgical mistakes, birth injuries, or misinterpretation of lab tests, these events could constitute malpractice. Therefore, always consult a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your situation.Statute of Limitations
Like most legal cases, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within a certain period of time. While deadlines vary from state to state, most states require claims be filed within 2-4 years from the date the malpractice took place. However, this time limit may be exempted if the court determines the healthcare provider fraudulently concealed the malpractice. Therefore, always seek out the advice of a medical malpractice lawyer to ensure your claim is properly filed.Not All Bad Outcomes Equal Malpractice
Mistakenly, many patients think if they do not have a favorable outcome, this equals malpractice. However, to be considered malpractice, it must be proven the healthcare professional breached the standard of care a reasonable person should expect, and it must be proven the mistake led to the patient being harmed. Since these cases can be complex, always turn to a medical malpractice attorney for guidance.Damage Caps Exist
In many cases, patients believe they will be entitled to unlimited amounts of money in a lawsuit, when in fact many states have medical malpractice damage caps in place regarding pain and suffering and mental anguish. In some states, these limits range from $500,000-$750,000, depending upon whether the claim is against a physician or a non-practitioner, such as a nurse, physical therapist, or lab technician.Stay Informed During Treatment
Whether it is you or a family member being treated, always stay informed. In doing so, pay close attention to what doctors, nurses, and others are doing regarding medications, tests, and other activities. If something doesn't seem right, or if you notice strange reactions from medical personnel, consult a medical malpractice lawyer as quickly as possible.
If you or a loved one may have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss filing a medical malpractice claim. By doing so, you can begin the process of getting the financial compensation and justice you deserve.