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6 Things You Should Consider Before Filing a Suit for Medical Negligence

Legal action though the commonest route taken must be undergone with utmost care. If you are considering legal action, then here are a few considerations you must have at the back of your mind.
05/24/2016 11:48am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Our health is very sacred to us and we very readily would do anything to protect and enhance it. If our health does fail or we desire to make enhance our health conditions we hand our health and indeed our lives to professionals called doctors. The trust we put in doctors is indeed the greatest trust man gives to his fellow man, and so expectations are high.

The exasperation we feel when the professionals fail in their responsibilities or when there is a perceived failure is understandable. What steps to take and how to take them then becomes an area of genuine concern. We must however seek proper explanation of Medical malpractice and Negligence to see if we have a claim in fact.

Medical Negligence can extend to prescriptions, like the popular Xarelto's case where a myriad of suits were filed against Janssen Pharmaceutical, the manufacturers of the anticoagulant. However, the party to go after in cases of harmful prescriptions is the manufacturers unless it can be shown that the doctor ought to have known the adverse effects in the circumstances.

Legal action though the commonest route taken must be undergone with utmost care. If you are considering legal action, then here are a few considerations you must have at the back of your mind.

1. You need to Consider the Cost of Legal Action

Legal action can be expensive and there is really no guarantee that you will win the case or that the amount you are seeking as compensation will be granted if you win the case (or an amount even close to it). Losing the case might also entitle you to pay costs to the other party.

The court is a disinterested umpire and will work basically on logic, they do not feel it as strongly as you do and will not see it that clearly either. If the potential cost and stress of a court case is not worth it and doesn't make financial sense, then you may consider negotiation or some other form or redress.

2. Consider the Strength of Your Evidence

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The court will not listen to your gut feeling so one major thing you must have to succeed in a suit for medical negligence is your evidence. Medical negligence can only be established in court on the basis of very accurate medical information and evidence that you may not understand.

It may be necessary to have a neutral medical personnel preview the case and the actions that gave right to the harm that you are claiming redress over. Make sure you get some medical assurance that a wrong has really been done and for which you can seek redress.

3. You Need To Determine Who to Sue

One of the major reasons many cases fail and no hospital negligence compensation is paid, is because the wrong person was sued. Most people sue the hospital whenever there is a wrong committed against them amounting to negligence.

In actuality, while negligence of employees of the hospital naturally bind the hospital, many doctors are not employees of the company and hence must be sued personally even if they performed the negligent act in a particular hospital. There are also varied instances where independent doctor's actions can bind the hospital.

It is necessary to determine who we are up against because it can either encourage us or it could deter us. For instance, going against a large hospital with very high ratings and clean slates on professional misconduct of any kind may be an emotional and financial battle you may not be willing to handle.

4. Consider Your Emotional Preparation.

"Just leave it be" is not always bad advice, depending on the kind of wrong you suffered as a result of negligence, you may not want to relive it a thousand times and that is exactly what will happen in court. It could be emotionally destabilizing for you.

You must also consider your treatments assuming you are still taking treatment in the same hospital or even in a different hospital. There have been many cases where people complained that doctors and hospital staff acted differently towards them because they knew that they were suing.

Legal action of this kind can also be drawn out and mentally exhausting. You may have to brace yourself for a long journey.

5. You Have To Carefully Pick Your Attorney

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A case on Medical negligence is a tough case to prove and this necessitates the need for an expert. You will need an attorney that has a track record in this type of cases, because it is an extremely specialized area.

It may also be easier to get an attorney from the same vicinity the wrong occurred as the complex rules that guide this area of law vary from state to state.

6. You Have To Know When To Sue

Knowing when to commence legal action is also a very vital consideration. There are few things more painful than being denied your rights simply because you have been caught off by time.

The general time within which a claim can be filed in the UK is 3 years, but you might need to confirm your eligibility for legal action from professionals. There are salient benefits of filing on time as well as exceptions to the general 3 year rule that you may need to be aware of.

In the end, where there is a wrong, there ought to be a remedy. It is your right, exercise it!