Individuals who became worse after a medical procedure often wonder what they should do if they suspect medical negligence. First, you should know that medical malpractice lawsuits are typically complex and the first step should be contacting an attorney.
Besides the complexity of medical malpractice cases, Alaska personal injury law is highly technical and it would be wise to consult an attorney in Anchorage AK before filing legal action, or before contacting the faulting party. The attorney can advise you of the available legal options and initiate legal action to recover damages on your behalf.
What is Medical Malpractice in Alaska?
Medical malpractice is a negligent act or omission by a healthcare professional or provider. Medical negligence means that the actions of a medic or medical facility fell below the acceptable standards. Medical malpractice is deemed to have occurred when a medical procedure results in injuries, or the condition of a patient significantly deteriorates.
Medical malpractices are covered in Article 06 of the Alaska Statutes. However, not all medical mistakes are eligible for compensation under Alaska law. In other words, not all injuries resulting from medical treatment are compensable. All medical procedures involve a certain degree of risk and that’s why medical professionals do not guarantee a successful outcome.
The law only requires healthcare providers to meet the expected standard of care while treating patients. Negligence and the presence of injuries are not sufficient to sustain a medical malpractice action, although they’re required.
Alaska medical malpractice law requires. The plaintiff must also prove causation (proving that the injuries were caused by the negligence of the defendant). Simply put, the negligent act should be the actual cause of your injury, to sustain a valid medical malpractice claim.
Steps to Take After a Medical Malpractice
10% of the total deaths in the U.S result from medical malpractice. Sadly, most of those deaths are preventable. What should you do if you suspect medical malpractice?
1. Consult another Doctor
Seek help from another doctor immediately if you suspect medical malpractice. The new doctor will help correct the mistakes of the first doctor. For instance, the first doctor’s mistake was misdiagnosing your condition. The second doctor will start by performing a diagnostic test to diagnose your condition correctly and hopefully treat you.
2. Obtain a Copy of Your Medical Records
Your medical record contains the details of your medical history including, diagnosis, medical tests performed, symptoms, lab results, medical prescriptions, treatment procedures, and others. The medical information forms part of the evidence used by lawyers when evaluating the facts of a case and while bringing a solid claim.
For instance, the medical records can reveal if the doctor followed the right procedure or their acts fell below the expected standard of care. Failing to obtain a copy of your medical records means insufficient evidence to bring a claim. Some doctors or medical facilities alter the information contained in medical records to avoid liability but it’s illegal–that’s why you should obtain a copy of the records earlier.
3. Document Your Experience in a Journal
Write down your experience in a journal. The experience should focus on the symptoms and how the medical malpractice affected your life. For instance, the malpractice may have incapacitated you, forcing you to take time off work for recovery, such things should be highlighted.
You could also write down how your relationships have been impacted by the medical error. Your journal will come in handy when calculating the recoverable damages, particularly the compensation for pain and suffering.
3. Seek Legal Counsel
Medical malpractice cases are complex and it’s hard to legally represent yourself. Besides, this will be the time you’re recovering meaning you’ll not be in the right state of mind. Consequently, it is wise to hire a personal injury attorney experienced in medical malpractice claims. Most lawyers offer a free consultation for initial legal counsel to prospective clients who also get the opportunity to gauge the attorney and hopefully form a working relationship.
A copy of your medical records will be required at this stage, in addition to medical treatment receipts and other relevant documents related to your case. Initial legal consultations involve discussing the subject matter–the medical malpractice, and getting advice on the available legal options for resolving your case. Your attorney will need every detail however insignificant it may seem. The attorney will then start investigating the medical if they make a perfect match for your situation.
4. Avoid Involving Other Parties
Medical malpractice cases can take longer to resolve and it can be tempting to discuss the details of the case with other people besides your lawyer. You should avoid discussing your case because your statements can be easily used to defeat your case.
You should also avoid contacting the defendant when filing a medical malpractice claim. Also, keep the details of the case away from social media–the defendant could be tracking your online activities to find anything that can help them defeat the claim. One wrong move could cost your claim.
Besides the above-mentioned steps to be taken if you suspect medical malpractice, your lawyer can advise you more on this subject.