The following article gives an overview of how you pursue a medical negligence compensation claim. While the author is a British solicitor (lawyer), the process is basically the same in the United States.
By Tim Bishop
It’s not the easiest thing to cope with when you have been unwell or in need of surgery. When things go wrong or you suspect you, your treatment or diagnosis has not been handled in a professional manner, to whom do you turn?
A lot of people shrink from challenging a medical professional, often because they are anxious that they can’t ‘fight the system’. You may feel intimidated and that, as a non medic or lay person, no-one is likely to listen to you.
Not so. That is exactly why there are specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers. These experienced Solicitors will listen to you; they will provide valuable professional guidance and support when you are making a claim for compensation following a medical accident.
So what constitutes Medical or Clinical Negligence?
Medical Negligence is when a medical professional, usually a doctor – but it could be a midwife, nurse, radiographer, dentist or other health worker – has given you medical treatment that has resulted in something going wrong.
Your specialist Medical Negligence Lawyer will need to determine whether the treatment you received, in a particular field of medicine, was substandard to that expected by a qualified competent doctor.
To get sufficient proof, your lawyer will have to examine your medical records before sending them, along with a statement prepared by you, to an independent doctor for their assessment. After reviewing these, this doctor will give a report on whether he or she feels the medical treatment was reasonable. If his indication is that your treatment was substandard, your case moves to the next stage.
From this point, your Medical Negligence Solicitor will write to the hospital or clinic where you were treated and inform them of your proposed claim. They must reply within 3 months.
A doctor or clinic may accept immediately responsibility for your injury. If so, it is less likely you will need to take the case to Court; your clinical negligence lawyer will start negotiation to obtain an appropriate compensation settlement.
There are time limits in which you can make a Medical Negligence Claim. Usually this is within 3 years of the accident or injury, although sometimes circumstances occur when symptoms develop later on. In such cases, the three year period runs from the date when the injury was discovered and was linked to previous medical treatment. If it is a child that has been injured, the three years starts from their 18th birthday. These time limits are adhered to strictly, making it vital that you don’t waste time, but take legal advice about your chances of a successful compensation claim straight away.
Tim Bishop is senior partner at Bonallack & Bishop, a firm of specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors who can advise you on your compensation claim. He has grown the firm by 1000% in 13 years, seeing himself as a businessman who owns a law firm. Tim is responsible for all major strategic decisions and plans to expand the firm further.
The above is general information only. If you have any questions whatsoever, talk with a medical malpractice lawyer licensed in your state.