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What to Do If You’ve Suffered from Medical Negligence


Medical negligence or medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider fails to provide medical care that meets acceptable standards, which then results in the injury or worsened condition of the patient. In other words, if a medical professional does something that another medical professional reasonably would not have done in the same circumstances, and that deviation causes a patient’s injury, then medical malpractice might have occurred.

As a patient, you will probably never expect to suffer from medical negligence. Yet it causes hundreds of thousands of patient injuries and deaths each year, according to a recent and now-famous John Hopkins University study. If you are ever hurt by medical negligence, malpractice, or errors – or you think you have been hurt due to subpar medical care but aren’t certain – it helps to know what to do.

Recognizing Signs of Medical Negligence

Medical negligence can take many different forms, such as:

Knowing how to distinguish between the different forms of medical negligence and then how to notice the signs of negligence is a challenge. Recognizing the signs of medical negligence often will not be obvious to a patient without medical training. You should follow your instinct and seek follow-up medical care if you think you have been hurt through medical negligence or that something went wrong. Otherwise, hiring the guidance of a legal professional is another good starting point.

Talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice lawyers are legal professionals who can help clients handle injury claims and lawsuits after they have been injured due to medical negligence. Part of the territory for a successful medical malpractice lawyer is to gain a detailed understanding of the medical world’s rules, regulations, expectations, laws, standards, and so forth. If you were hurt due to medical negligence or think you might have been, rather than trying to identify the signs on your own, you can rely on a medical malpractice attorney’s counsel instead. Even if you think you have a fairly solid understanding of how you or a loved one were injured through medical negligence, it is still advisable to talk with a medical malpractice attorney soon after the incident, so they can apply their familiarity with this complex topic and shed light on what legal options might be available to you.

Get a Second Opinion

After you have spoken with a medical malpractice attorney, you should plan on getting a second opinion from another medical provider. Your lawyer may have a list of medical experts in the area that they trust to evaluate their clients from an unbiased, outside perspective.

During a medical second opinion, you can expect the doctor to:

  • Go over your symptoms in detail.
  • Review your medical history.
  • Provide a second diagnosis.
  • Recommend future treatments.
  • Explain what they believe the original medical provider did wrong or missed.

Typically, a medical provider who gives a second opinion won’t prescribe new treatments, therapies, or medications, or they might not be permitted to prescribe care. Instead, they are mainly there to evaluate your health condition and see if they can spot an error or discrepancy in the care you previously received, especially when the second-opinion doctor has been asked to weigh in on a pending lawsuit.

Keep Copies of All Documents

Throughout your medical care, be sure to keep copies of all documents you receive. Everything from receipts for co-payments to doctor’s notes and prescriptions can be useful if you want to file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit later. Documents from the medical care that went wrong are important, as are documents from any follow-up care you need because of the harm caused by medical negligence.

You should plan on making physical and digital copies of the documents, too. With spare copies made easily available, your attorney will face fewer obstacles when working on your case.

Review Your Medical Records

Out of all the documents relevant to your medical negligence case, your complete medical record is probably the most useful and important. Reviewing it for signs of medical errors and providing a confidential copy to your attorney are helpful steps to take.

To get a copy of your medical records, start with your phone. Smartphone apps used by medical providers and healthcare groups usually allow you to access different records through the app. Your entire record might not be immediately available through an app, though, so you may have to submit an in-app request for the complete record.

If you don’t want to use a smartphone app for any reason, you can contact or visit your medical provider’s records department. You should be able to fill out a medical records request form and note which records you want to see.

Keep in mind that you may have to pay a small fee to the healthcare provider for the retrieval and handling of your medical records. HIPAA rules prevent healthcare providers from charging you for the labor needed to retrieve your medical records, but a provider is allowed to charge a small fee if pages are retrieved and copied for you. Usually, the limit is about $2 per page.

Filing a Medical Negligence Lawsuit

Depending on what your medical malpractice lawyer uncovers by reviewing your medical records and investigating the circumstances surrounding the medical negligence, the next thing you might be able to do is file a lawsuit against the medical provider that hurt you. Through a lawsuit, you can pursue justice and compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more. With an attorney’s help, you don’t have to worry about the many details that go into the process of filing and pursuing a claim, either. All you have to do is focus on taking care of yourself.

Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen proudly offers trusted legal counsel to patients in Las Vegas and across Nevada who have been hurt due to medical negligence. If you want to know if you can file a claim, or if you suspect a medical provider’s mistakes caused you to suffer an injury or illness, ask for your FREE case consultation by dialing (702) 505-8115 today.