Not-So-Innocent Mistakes: When is the Right Time to Seek Compensation for Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice can cover many types of medical error, from misdiagnosis to surgical mistakes or failure to provide adequate care, healthcare providers have a number of obligations that they must legally meet. Not doing so leaves them vulnerable to lawsuits, and while the number of claims has been going down across the USA over time, there are still a significant number of malpractice cases each year.

How is Medical Malpractice Decided?

Simply put, medical malpractice can cover a wide variety of areas and apply to any type of medical procedure, including birthing a baby and diagnosing illness or advising treatment. Medical professionals hold a position of trust and power over their patients, we are literally in their care so their advice and actions carry a lot of weight. Any type of error or injury can be considered for a malpractice case, and each can vary depending on the case and the state it took place in. It’s best to discuss your situation with an attorney so you can get accurate and specific advice on your situation.

When Should I Seek Compensation?

So say you’ve discussed the case with your attorney and they say you may be entitled to recover compensation for medical malpractice – what comes next? Well ideally, you would launch your claim immediately. Your lawyer might want to hold off briefly to gather more evidence or to build a better case. If this is the case, go along with your attorney. They are professionals and will be able to make the best call to improve your chances of successfully getting an adequate amount of compensation.

Outside of that always get your claim started as soon as possible. There’s a lot of variation between states on the statute of limitations for medical malpractice, though again there are exceptions in certain circumstances. For example, if you didn’t discover the malpractice until long after the event, it can be an exception to this rule. Once again discussing the matter with a legal professional is the best way to get a clear understanding of the situation.

What Will Compensation Cover?

Compensation is assigned for a variety of reasons in malpractice cases. It can cover costs of further treatment or recovery, lost wages and earnings during the injury, or pain/trauma caused by the malpractice, both physical and mental or emotional. Usually this means the malpractice has to be measurable in some way, though any kind of malpractice which can be proven and shown to have had an effect will often be covered. Loss of consortium is another area for which compensation can be awarded, and basically refers to the loss of other intangible benefits the victim brought to their family relationships, as they may no longer be able to provide these services.

While a cash sum often can’t entirely make up for malpractice, especially if the effects have been severe (such as the loss of a loved one), it can go a significant way towards making things a little easier in the future.


Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash