Most people never think they will be injured by the actions of their medical care provider. However, there is an entire category of lawsuits dedicated to when this happens called “medical malpractice.” If you find yourself in this situation, it can be an incredibly confusing time. You may not even know what your first step should be. If you want to pursue legal action, this guide will go over what you should do to begin your medical malpractice lawsuit.
Speak to an Attorney
No matter what the unique aspects of your situation are, the very first thing you should do is to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer in Charlottesville, VA. A legal professional will be able to give you more information that is tailored to your circumstances. You do not need to commit to hiring an attorney to get more information. Most lawyers offer free consultations, which allow you to feel more confident. In preparation for speaking with an attorney, there are a few things you should get together:
- Your medical bills and any other documentation you may have of your hospital stay.
- All communication you had with the hospital or the physician who treated you.
- A list of all the questions you have.
In general, it is a good idea to avoid communicating with the defendant before you are able to speak with an attorney. If you have already done so, do not worry too much. Keep any written communication you have, such as emails or letters and try to recall everything that was discussed during any phone calls.
You should not withhold anything from your attorney. You should not be embarrassed and avoid telling your attorney anything. Doing so will only make his or her job harder.
How Long Can You Wait?
There is a concept called the “statute of limitations.” This is essentially just how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, any lawsuit you file will be thrown out. This means you should not delay in contacting a lawyer and getting the process going.
In most states, you will have two or three years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there are some states where the statute of limitations is just one year. Remember, it takes time to prepare and file, so you should not begin the process right before your time expires. Finally, the closer you file to the event, the better your chances are of gaining compensation for the malpractice. All the facts will be recent and witnesses will be easier to find.
Thanks to MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into the first steps you must take when pursuing a medical malpractice claim.