What You Need to Know Before Suing a Hospital for Malpractice
Medical malpractice takes place whenever a healthcare professional falls short of or fails to meet professional medical standards. If a doctor prescribes a certain medicine or suggests a certain standard treatment but it does not work on the patient, the patient cannot blame the doctor. However, if the doctor prescribed a non-standard medicine or an experimental treatment (that has not been approved by the FDA for patients) and the patient’s health worsens, he/she can take the healthcare professional to court and demand compensation. There are other kinds of medical malpractices such as
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Use of unsterilized medical devices/tools
- Misdiagnosis due to negligence or due to the lack of full information about the patient’s health condition. In fact, the most common cause of paid claims (for malpractice) is misdiagnosis.
It may seem that if medical malpractice has occurred, it is easy to file a claim against the doctor or hospital but a study shows that only 1% of adverse events caused by medical negligence result in a claim. Thousands of deaths that take place in hospitals nationwide are reported to be preventable medical errors and yet only a small fraction of those result in the hospital being taken to court. So the question arises, why do hospitals get away with medical malpractice if it is so prevalent?
Statute of Limitations
Lack of information about state laws could be one of the major reasons. The most relevant law for malpractice is the statue of limitations. The statute of limitations is different in every state and it presents certain conditions under which the affected person is allowed to file a case in the state’s civil court. In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations has lawsuit filing deadlines that patients must meet if they want their case to proceed. The law states that an action for damages for harm to health, by a doctor or hospital, should be filed with the court within two years of the date, the plaintiff knew or should have known that, a medical error had occurred. Other than keeping that deadline in mind, the plaintiff needs to present an affidavit that states that the plaintiff, with the support of an expert medical witness, believes that the defendant is guilty of medical malpractice. In the case of the deadline being missed, it is most likely that the hospital under question will file a legal motion in court, asking it to dismiss the case. In most cases, the lawsuit will end right there.
Moreover, many people do not realize that taking a hospital to court means that you are most probably up against an entity that has a legal team, which is very well prepared for medical malpractice claims. Going to court without a strong legal representative is more than likely to end in the case being dismissed either on the basis of missing deadlines or for lacking enough evidence. Therefore, if you or a loved one believes that you have been a victim of medical malpractice at a hospital in Oklahoma, contact an experienced and strong medical malpractice attorney as soon as you know. Atkins and Markoff has a passionate team of medical malpractice attorneys with an excellent reputation for being immaculate and extremely detail savvy. We ensure that we work with our clients to gather as much evidence as possible and take the burden off their shoulders by doing most of the work for them. Contact us today for a free consultation.