What Should I Do If I've Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice comes in many shapes and forms. From misdiagnosis and mistreatment to surgical errors and patient-care negligence.
When a patient is harmed due to any act or omission of duty by a medical professional who deviates from normal practice, they may be a victim of medical malpractice. If you or a family member has been injured in Louisiana due to medical malpractice, you deserve to have your medical bills covered and compensation for your discomfort. It is important to act quickly and get the help you need to begin your medical malpractice case.
Understanding Medical Malpractice
There is often confusion on what constitutes medical malpractice. As stated above, medical malpractice is when injury occurs due to negligent medical care. Many times, medical care does not have the results desired, but that does not mean it is a case of malpractice. If the physician diagnosed or treated the medical concern within the normal expectations, yet the outcome was unfavorable, that is not medical malpractice. Only when they do not diagnose, or misdiagnose, perform the wrong treatment, or do not perform the treatment needed, and harm results, is it a possibility of medical malpractice. Examples include:
- Misdiagnosis of illness
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Surgical mistakes
- Failure to explain possible risks or side effects of a treatment
- Negligence of care when at an in-patient medical facility (hospital or nursing home)
These are just a few of the possibilities. Often, a patient may not realize there was a mistake made. Medical professionals do not usually tell their patients they made a mistake due to liability. But if you have had complications or injuries that seem abnormal, there may have been a medical error or malpractice.
Time is Not on Your Side
With medical malpractice cases, you have a limited amount of time to file a case, especially in Louisiana. According to state law, a victim or family member must file a case for medical malpractice within one year of the incident, or within a year after discovery, but always within three years of the incident. There is also red tape in the Louisiana legal system that you must go through to get your case reviewed. It is important to begin exploring your options right away with an experienced team of medical malpractice attorneys that practice in Louisiana, like our team at Nelson & Hammons, when you believe you have a case for medical malpractice.
Record Your Story
When you first realize there is a problem with your medical treatment, begin recording everything you remember about the incident or issues. It is important to write down every detail you can remember; memory fades and writing down the events and information right away can help your case. Some of the details to provide include:
- Name of the facility where you were treated
- Names of the medical care personnel responsible for your care (everyone involved, doctors, nurses, etc.)
- What condition was being treated
- What medications you were using
- A detailed record of the events as they occurred
- What type of injuries or illness was caused by the medical malpractice
- Symptoms of injury
- Treatment needed for your injury
These details are all important in your case. Your attorney will also ask for other information to determine the damages, including lost wages, medical treatment, medications, transportation costs, and equipment. On top of what you remember, it is important to keep copies of all paperwork from the medical care you received, both at the time of the incident and afterward. You will also want copies of all your medical records from all your healthcare providers before, during, and after the incident.
You Need a Legal Expert on Your Side
Louisiana medical malpractice laws are strict and complicated. It is vital to know the right procedure for filing a claim or lawsuit to ensure you meet the prescriptive period and all the regulations pertaining to this area of law. A personal injury attorney specializing in Louisiana medical malpractice law can handle the process for you. They can ensure all the paperwork is filed with the courts within the time frame needed and help in gathering all the information required for your case.
At Nelson & Hammons, we have been serving our neighbors in Louisiana for over 30 years. We have handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases for our clients, ensuring they get the opportunity to receive compensation for their injuries and medical mistreatment. If you believe you or a family member is a victim of medical malpractice, the first thing you need to do is call our team for a free consultation. We can discuss your situation and what options are available to receive compensation for your injuries.