The Washington Post reports that as of 2016, medical errors were the third leading cause of death in this country. Only heart disease and cancer kill more people.
Medical malpractice is one of those scenarios that most people assume will never happen to them, so when it does, they do not know how to respond.
If you were a victim of malpractice, it is critical that you take steps to protect your interests. In the state of Louisiana, most injured patients must file a medical malpractice claim within one year of the alleged incident that resulted in the injury or illness. In cases when the malpractice is not immediately apparent, victims must file their claims within one year from the day that they discovered or should have reasonably discovered the error.
Additionally, under Louisiana law, there is a statute of repose of three years. That means all malpractice victims must file their claims within three years of the alleged incident, regardless of whether a reasonable person could have noticed the injury.
If you or a loved one sustained an injury or illness as a result of substandard medical care, turn to The Bowling Law Firm. David A. Bowling has more than 30 years of trial experience. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule a consultation with a New Orleans medical malpractice lawyer.
Let's explore the steps you should take as soon as you realize that you were a victim of medical malpractice:
1. Seek Medical Attention
It is not uncommon for victims of medical malpractice to ignore their symptoms and refuse to undergo a health-care exam. Some of them fear the cost of further medical treatment; others have lost their faith in health-care professionals and would rather go it alone.
However, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention. Getting a fast diagnosis and treatment could prevent your condition from worsening and possibly save your life. Also, the doctors' records will document your injury or illness, which will be important evidence if you make a medical malpractice claim.
2. Contact an Attorney
Once your health has stabilized, you should contact an attorney. The laws that govern medical malpractice are complicated, and a small error could reduce the amount of compensation you recover or prevent you from recovering any compensation at all. A medical malpractice lawyer will help you navigate the claims process and avoid crucial mistakes.
3. Get a Thorough Medical Assessment
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the state of Louisiana does not require a certificate of merit in malpractice cases; however, undergoing a medical exam can help strengthen your case. During this exam, your physician will evaluate whether your injury or illness was a result of substandard care.
4. File Your Complaint
Once you have gathered the necessary documents, your attorney will help you file a complaint against the negligent health-care provider. This will prompt an investigation by the state medical board of your case and will strengthen your paper trail. Your attorney will then proceed with filing the lawsuit.
If you or a loved one sustained an illness or injury due to a health-care worker's negligence, contact The Bowling Law Firm. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule an initial consultation with a New Orleans wrongful death attorney.