Disability creates special needs, requirements, and circumstances in your life. If you are not born with the disability, but developed it later on in life, your physical condition can also be a source of mental agony and distress. If the disability has been caused by an act of negligence by a doctor or caregiver, you suffer for no mistake of your own. Someone else’s negligence caused far-reaching and irreversible changes in your life.
If you feel that your disability has been caused by medical negligence, then you have every right to file a medical malpractice claim.
In many cases, patients do not realize the mistake committed by their care providers until much later. But, a delay in time need not deter you from making a rightful claim. Keep in mind that the claim should be made as soon as possible after you suspect negligence. There are specific statutes of limitations in various states that determine how long you can wait before filing a claim. It is usually two years from the point of suffering the injury, or discovering that your current condition is a result of medical negligence.
Knowledge about the legal recourse you have, and the exact nature of your health condition, will help you make informed decisions.
Here are a few things that you need to know if you or a loved one has fallen victim to medical negligence.
Understand Your Situation
Medical negligence can occur due to many reasons, and you must be very sure of your condition and circumstances to consider legal recourse.
Medical professionals have the very deserving reputation of being very dependable and reliable, but there are always exceptions to the norm.
You cannot sue for medical negligence simply if you are dissatisfied with the course of treatment or unhappy with the outcome. You must have valid proof to show that your healthcare professional, clinic, or hospital did not provide care that is expected from a reasonably competent, qualified, and skilled professional. In other words, they did not meet the standards that a patient can reasonably and lawfully hope for.
In addition to breach of duty, medical negligence claims need to be supported by causation. Causation requires you to have proof that your current condition is a direct result of a breach of duty by the doctor or clinic. The negligence on the part of doctors caused you avoidable harm, for which you can rightfully claim compensation. The difficult part is now in proving that it is not your underlying condition, but medical negligence, that caused you harm and worsened your condition and led to disability.
Seek Legal Help
An experienced and trusted medical malpractice attorney will be able to guide you in the right direction and give you an honest assessment about your case.
One of the most difficult aspects of medical negligence cases is the burden to prove causation. Negligence on the part of the doctor gives no ground for claim if you did not suffer injury, as a direct result of such negligence. If there was indeed medical negligence, and your condition did worsen, but there is no proof to connect these two elements, then you may not have a claim.
You will have to collect your medical records from the hospital where you received treatment, and provide all pertinent details to an independent medical professional. You will need an expert physician to review your medical records and certify that standards of care were not met, and that your injury and disability are a direct result of the medical negligence. This is known as certificate of merit.
Though this sounds straightforward enough, medical records and cross-verifications can complicate things quickly. Your attorney will be able to refer you to physicians and other experts to speed up your case assessment. If the experts see no merit in your case, you will be advised to drop the claim. This will not only save you time and money, but will also help you achieve a better understanding of your condition.
Consider an Out-of-Court Settlement
Out-of-court settlements save you time and money, and are a convenient option in some cases. A dependable attorney will negotiate for a suitable settlement and will see to it that you get justice, while ensuring that you get compensated for (i) the injury you sustained, (ii) loss of income, (iii) emotional trauma, and (iv) disruption of life.
If you feel that you are not getting the compensation that you deserve, then you should proceed to trial.
If you have suffered a disability as a result of medical negligence, then it is as much a psychological trauma as a physical one.
Feelings of helplessness, loneliness, anger, and disappointment are normal in this stage – especially when you are suffering due to the negligence of physicians who you trusted to do no harm.
Take time and come to terms with the disability that you suffer from. Realize that disability may impede life as you once knew it, but that it is possible to derive the same enjoyment from life as before. As recent as a few years back, there was very little accessibility in public spaces, institutions, and at activities. Now, all of that has changed – you will find that using public transport, visiting public buildings, and participating in public events are not impossible, as they once were for so many.
You may have to put in more effort now, but make sure that you do not stop trying to find happiness.
Connect with communities and forums where you will be able to meet people who are going through the same things as you. There are also clubs and organizations that concentrate on building better lives for the disabled. Being a member of such groups and associations will provide you with opportunities to discuss and work on problem areas, and find solutions among your community.
Stress and sadness can cause a lot of complications – both of the mind and body. Do not give into negative thinking, and fight the feeling that all is lost whenever it grows on you.
Believe that you build your own future, while striving to build a healthier, happier tomorrow.
Fight for Rightful Compensation
Dealing with disability due to medical negligence is not easy. But if you take proper care of yourself, nurture your wellbeing, and prevent negativity from affecting to you, you will be able to surmount the odds that your disability may bring into your life. With expert legal help, you will also be able to win monetary compensation that will help on your road to recovery and self-discovery.
Ralph Leon is Marketing Manager at The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC, one of the leading medical malpractice law firms in Connecticut. He has experience of more than a decade in writing about law and legal issues, particularly medical malpractice and personal injury law.
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