Medical malpractice cases require a substantial amount of medical evidence, preparation, and legal work. Without the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, the process of putting a claim together can be overwhelming. FindLaw's Medical Malpractice Legal Help section provides the medical and legal resources to find the right medical malpractice attorney and get your case moving in the right direction. In this section, you can find sample medical release forms, a document checklist to help your attorney prepare your case, articles on how to file a malpractice claim, and tips for how to find the attorney who's right for your case.
Possible Damages from Medical Malpractice
In order for a medical malpractice claim to be valid, a patient must suffer damages as a result of the medical professional's conduct. Damages from conduct that amounts to medical malpractice can include a variety of injuries. Your damages can include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of hiring help for household services. In addition, you can recover for other harm that isn't actually monetary loss, such as loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, and physical and mental pain.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you've suffered harm or injury from a medical procedure or treatment, you should consult with an attorney who can help assess your situation and evaluate whether or not you have a valid medical malpractice claim. There are many types of conduct that are considered medical malpractice, such as a wrong diagnosis or treatment, lack of informed consent, unauthorized treatment, or negligence. An attorney can determine if the medical professional's conduct constituted medical malpractice, and what parties are responsible.
Certain claims or situations are subject to mandatory arbitration or mediation, which your attorney will be able to figure out. In preparing your case, the attorney will collect relevant facts, assess the applicable law, and create a legal strategy that is specific to your situation. A lawyer is also better suited to interview witnesses, collecting records, consulting with experts, and negotiating with insurance companies and opposing counsel. Finally, although accepting a settlement is solely up to the client, an attorney can use his or her experience with past medical malpractice cases to advise you on whether you should accept a settlement or if it's better to proceed to trial.
How You Can Help Your Attorney
While the attorney knows the law and the necessary actions to take for your medical malpractice case, he or she needs your help in knowing exactly what happened. Your explanation of the events surrounding the medical malpractice will assist your attorney in determining if you have a valid medical malpractice claim. It's also important to provide your attorney with background information about your health, both before and after the medical malpractice injury.
Documents can be very helpful in proving your case, so it's important to provide your attorney with all relevant documentation. Some documents that will likely be relevant to your case are your medical records, hospital and medical provider invoices and bills, and your insurance information. It's also good to share any prescription medicine information, any evidence of lost wages, and mental health records if you sought treatment from a mental health care professional. Finally, if you received any documents from the defendant(s) or have other documents that you believe relate to your claim, you should provide them to your attorney. If you're unsure whether a document is relevant to your case, it's best to share it with your attorney because part of the attorney's job is figuring out what documents and information are relevant and beneficial to your case.