Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Malpractice that doesn't have lethal consequences can severely impact the quality of your life. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is your best option for getting some resolution to the situation, but what if you only suspect that your healthcare provider may be negligent but have no definitive proof? Following are five strategies that can help you succeed in the event that filing a medical malpractice lawsuit becomes necessary.
Give Your Health Care Professional All the Facts
Withholding details about your current condition can lead to misdiagnosis. Always give your healthcare provider all the facts pertinent to your condition, even if you think they are irrelevant or embarrassing. Your provider needs to have all the information available in order to make the best possible determination about your condition. If it's hard for you to remember details when you are at your healthcare provider's office, keep a small notebook to write them down in, and show the notebook to your provider during your visitor. The notebook could also come in handy as evidence if you should need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your provider. Also, a failure to disclose important details to your provider could be used against you in a malpractice lawsuit, so make sure you've got all your bases covered.
Bring an Advocate With You to Medical Appointments
Many people find themselves feeling anxious and stresses during appointments with their healthcare provider. This is normal and natural, so consider bringing an advocate with you to your appointments. Look for a trusted friend or relative who can accompany you to appointments. Besides offering emotional support, that person can take notes and ask questions. In the event that things go wrong and you find it necessary to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your provider, the person who acted as your advocate will be an invaluable witness. Also, keep in mind that it's okay to add an advocate at any point during your treatment process, but it's especially crucial to do if you have reason to suspect that your healthcare provider may be negligent.
Get as informed as possible about your current health condition. The more you know about it, the more you'll be able to determine if certain treatment procedures need to be questioned. If your instincts are telling you that something's off with the treatment you're receiving—perhaps your provider is downplaying certain symptoms instead of running appropriate tests—don't hesitate to ask for an explanation and to document the response. Also, if your healthcare provider is not receptive to your questions, that's a big red flag.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Second Opinions
Many patients are hesitant to ask for a second opinion for fear it may offend their healthcare provider or hurt their feelings. However, when your health is at stake, it's much better to err on the side of caution. Good doctors understand this. Be very wary if your healthcare provider behaves in a manner that suggests that he or she is not happy with the idea of you asking for a second opinion—they may be trying to cover something up. If you feel that your provider is trying to intimidate you into not getting a second opinion, you should seek legal advice immediately.
Consult With an Attorney
If you've got substantial reason to believe that your healthcare provider may be guilty of negligence in your treatment, you should seek the services of an experienced attorney. He or she will be able to tell you whether you have a case and to guide you in how to proceed. Contact a local law practice for more information.