When it comes to filing a lawsuit against a medial professional (a doctor or nurse, typically), there are certain things you have to know to come out on top.
Medical malpractice suits are often long, complicated, and expensive due to the burden of proof and the specifics that must be followed. Here are seven things you must know:
- You must be able to prove that the medical professional made a mistake AND you were harmed by that mistake. The two components need to be related to have a case. If you cannot link causation to the harm, you will not have a viable case.
- You should be able to prove that the medical professional did not follow the standard of care. Remember that “standard of care” is different for each case and for each person based on your specific healthcare needs.
- Obtain a “certificate of merit” by contacting another physician to review your medical records and certify that the healthcare provider in question deviated from accepted medical practices in the case, which resulted in your injuries.
- Know the statute of limitations for the case. In Arizona, the Arizona Revised Statutes section 12-542 says that a legal action alleging malpractice by a healthcare professional must be filed within two years of the when the cause of action “accrues”. This means two years from the time a reasonable person knows, or should have known, of the defendant’s negligent conduct.
- Determine if you have a proper suit. Common types of medical malpractice include failure to diagnose, improper treatment, and failure to warn a patient of known risks.
- Although there are court fees and expenses for experts to testify in court, most of the time, the law firm will cover those costs upfront and then take a percentage of your settlement at the conclusion of the case to cover those expenses.
- Some states have a cap on how much money can be awarded in medical malpractice suits. Currently, Arizona is not one of those states.