Occurrences of medical malpractice are an unfortunate reality in hospitals across the country. It is no surprise that when doctors rush, or don’t keep up with the current science, they practice negligently with paperwork, test result reviews, illness diagnosis, and miscommunication with other staff.
The problem is this can cost lives. Failures to perform to the accepted level of care are grounds for legal repercussions in the form of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical malpractice laws vary from state to state. Some of the main differences have to do with time limits for filing a suit and what damages can be paid.
Statute of Limitations
In New York, the time limit for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is two and a half years from the date of the negligent act. Under certain circumstances, if there was continuous treatment for the same problem, there may be extensions.
In some cases, a doctor may leave an unintended foreign object inside of a patient during a surgical procedure. The patient in cases like this has one year from the date of discovery of the foreign object to file a claim for medical malpractice.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Doctor or Hospital
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in any state is extremely complicated, and the specific details of each case make every attempt unique. The first step is to find an experienced medical malpractice attorney and discuss the details of the case to determine if they meet the criteria of medical malpractice laws.
Some of the things that your attorney will have to determine are: 1. Did the doctor perform in such a way that was not up to the recognized standard level of care? 2. Did the doctor’s negligence directly cause the injury for which the suit is being brought? 3. Is the injury and it’s economic impact severe enough to warrant a filing a medical malpractice case?
The last part may sound insensitive, and it would be best if every victim of medical malpractice could be granted compensation for his/her suffering. Unfortunately in our legal system, because it is so expensive to prosecute a medical malpractice case, only those cases where the injuries and economic impact are significant can realistically be brought to court.
To get your questions answered, talk to a medical malpractice attorney. Most will offer a free consultation where you can explain the details of your case, and find out what legal options you have.