When a medical professional does not provide an acceptable standard of care to a patient, they are guilty of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice can involve a medical professional taking unwarranted actions, performing duties in an unsafe way, or failing to provide medical care.
If you are disabled as a result of medical malpractice, there are several steps you should take to address your future needs.
Gather Relevant Data
Records of your care and any concerns you had, or deviations from the norm, can strengthen your case. If possible, document the names of nurses, therapists, doctors, and other medical staff involved with your treatment. Record the names, times, and dates of any inadequate or unusual care provided.
There may also be other patients and visitors who have witnessed the negligent treatment you received. Ask for their names and contact information in case you need their testimony to pursue a legal case.
Seek Legal Counsel
Consult medical malpractice attorneys, such as the experts with Davis Kelin Law Firm, to discuss your legal rights. Medical malpractice lawyers specialize in working with medical malpractice cases. Consequently, they understand what information you need to proceed with a medical malpractice claim.
Provide your attorney with any documentation you have that supports your claims. Your documentation may include records you made when receiving treatment, contact information for potential witnesses, accounts of your physical condition before treatment from friends and family, and medical documentation substantiating your post-treatment disability.
Consult Disability Professionals
See a medical specialist and have them confirm your diagnosis. Medical specialists have more authority than general practitioners, and they are considered experts in their field. If you are suffering from more than one disability, you should see specialists for all of your conditions. Your medical malpractice attorney may recommend an appropriate specialist, or you can be referred to a specialist by your doctor.
Complete Medical Tests
Verify your diagnosis with medical tests. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, computed tomography (CAT) scans, medical records, and bloodwork results can support your legal claim.
A psychiatrist is also qualified to diagnose mental health issues. You may need to go for several sessions so a mental health expert can produce a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan.
Qualify for Disability
Qualifying for disability will strengthen the basis of your legal claim. It will also ensure you receive disability benefits. The Social Security Administration considers individuals who have several identified medical conditions to be disabled. These conditions include chronic heart failure, cystic fibrosis, depression, hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and musculoskeletal issues. You may automatically qualify for disability benefits if you have been rendered blind or deaf.
You may still qualify for disability if you have another condition.
Depending on the nature and severity of your disability, you may need extensive medical and personal care that could include physical therapy, day habilitation, in-home care, and occupational therapy. Identify your short-term and long-term medical and personal care needs. These needs will help determine the anticipated cost of your personal and medical care. The costs of ongoing care can impact how much you receive from a medical malpractice settlement.
Sign Release Forms
Your attorney will need access to your medical records to develop your case. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects your medical information. Medical professionals are not allowed to disclose medical information about their patients unless there is a legal basis. Sign HIPAA waivers to ensure your attorney has access to all medical data relevant to your case.
Understand the Severity of Malpractice
Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In addition to death, medical malpractice can cause people to lose the use of their eyes, hands, and legs. Patients may be unable to perform routine tasks, such as brushing their teeth, walking, or writing.
Patients can also be adversely affected by mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. You may not be able to work, engage in social activities, or perform routine tasks, such as shopping for groceries, due to severe mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions may persist for years or affect you for the rest of your life.
Recognize the Importance of Action
Negligent medical professionals may continue to work and provide substandard care to other patients, resulting in their disability or loss of life. Taking legal action for medical malpractice can ensure your personal needs are met while preventing others from suffering from medical negligence.