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What are the first steps in a medical malpractice case?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Going to the doctor can be scary, especially knowing that we may actually come out of that appointment worse than when we went in. Through medical negligence, doctors and other healthcare providers can harm us by not providing a standard level of care. Indeed, even a failure to diagnose an ailment when a similarly situated medical provider would have found such an ailment can be medical negligence and the basis of a medical malpractice case. However, since those cases can take quite a long time from start to finish (pre-trial, trial, appeals, etc.), many victims of medical negligence seek out alternative means. In this post, we will discuss three options.

Statute of limitations

Before talking about alternatives to a medical malpractice case, we must discuss the statute of limitations. Essentially, the SOL is the amount of time that a victim of medical negligence must bring their case to court, otherwise, their medical malpractice claim is extinguished (i.e., one can no longer take their medical provider to court over their negligence). A quick call to an attorney can get the answer on a claim’s specific SOL, but a bit of internet searching can also give one a good idea of their state’s SOL on their medical negligence claim. Be mindful of this time limit because, sometimes, medical providers and their insurers will drag out negotiations to beat the SOL to extinguish their liability.

Option 1: Direct negotiations

First, if one feels they have been the victim of medical negligence, it is likely that the medical provider has the ability to mitigate or solve the accompanying ailment. This is why the first call should be to the medical provider to understand why the course of treatment was taken and to figure out if there is a way to solve one’s perceived harm. Often, doctors or hospitals will do after care or additional procedures for free to avoid a larger medical malpractice claim later.

Option 2: Medical licensing board

Another option is the medical licensing board. While the board cannot mandate a payout or renumeration to the negligence victim, the board can punish the medical provider through warnings, suspensions and other such punishments. In addition, to avoid this, some doctors will settle prior to, during or after the licensing board has made their determination. But, while many medical licensing boards have options to help patients file complaints, it is still wise to consult a medical negligence attorney.

Option 3: Pre-court or out-of-court settlements

The final option is an out-of-court settlement, whereby the Olean, New York, medical provider or their insurance provider pays to resolve the medical negligence case. A legal expert should be consulted prior to signing anything litigation.