In the realm of personal injury law, medical malpractice makes up 15% of cases every year, behind motor vehicle accidents at 52% and ahead of product liability suits at 5%. Medical malpractice suits can be extremely difficult cases because the burden of proof rests on you, the prosecutor. If you believe that you or someone you love has grounds for a medical malpractice suit, come prepared. Here are four things you need to know before filing for medical malpractice.
Standard of Care
In personal injury law, there’s a lot of pressure on the prosecution to prove that the defendant was responsible for the injury that was caused. For example, to win a medical malpractice suit, you have to prove that the medical professional treating you breached their standard of care. This can be difficult because every medical procedure comes with inherent risks but personal injury lawyers are experienced in wading through those risks to determine if the standard of care was not met.
Cap on Damages
It may sound unreasonable but many states have a cap or limit on the non-economic damages you can be awarded in a medical malpractice suit. Non-economic damages can be anything from physical discomfort to the loss of a loved one. Considering about 225,000 people die each year from medical malpractice, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), your case may be ongoing at the same time as another personal injury case. It’s important to be aware that expecting a large sum of money is not always reasonable with a medical malpractice case.
Around 20,000 medical malpractice claims are filed each year. Those cases have to prove causation, meaning that they have to prove the medical professional they are suing caused the injury in question or at least that their actions were a substantial factor in the resultant injury. Causation is difficult to prove because doctors are well-versed in working around the substantial factor requirement but a successful personal injury lawyer can help you get the facts straight.
The Statute of Limitations
Finally, you need to know whether or not your injury and the subsequent filing fall within the statute of limitations. In California, for example, that statute of limitations runs out in two years. This statute is very severely met, possibly more so than any other personal injury law practice areas. If you are filing a medical malpractice suit, just remember: about 95% of personal injury cases are settled pretrial. There is always hope and help for you to get the legal assistance you deserve.