Initial Steps to Take if Medical Malpractice is Suspected
When someone believes that a doctor or another medical professional may have caused illness or injury because of negligence, it could lead to a medical malpractice claim being filed. However, the initial steps may not necessarily lead straight to legal action.
Contact the Doctor
Not every error made by a doctor warrants the pursuit of a claim. So one may contact the healthcare provider whose actions he or she suspects caused an injury or medical condition. It could be that there was a reasonable explanation or there might be a solution to the problem that doesn’t require legal action. A second opinion from an independent doctor may also be warranted.
Of course, one may also speak with an attorney at this time to review the details of the case, to discuss correspondence with the doctor(s) or hospital, and to protect any legal rights to file a claim.
Organize Medical Documentation
This is also an important time to collect all:
- medical records;
- bills; and
- any correspondence with the doctor or insurance company.
Start a file where to organize any potential evidence, and be sure to document injuries and the effects on daily life.
The journal may include:
- days missed from work;
- pain; and
- what happened before, during and after the medical care suspected of causing the injury or condition.
Initial Legal Action
If it’s clear that there was a serious mistake made and harm has been suffered, then the next step might be to submit a notice of the intent to file a lawsuit within a year of the action that led to the injury.
It’s important to meet all necessary deadlines within the statute of limitations. In Ohio it is one year from the date the injury occurred. If a notice has been filed, then the patient has 180 days to move forward with legal action. Although there can be exceptions to the one year timeframe, its best to act quickly.