MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AND PERSONAL INJURY LAW BLOG

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When to Call a Lawyer For a Medical Malpractice Case

Making a phone call to a law firm can be difficult. You may still have a lot of questions before you decide to call a lawyer, including whether or not you actually have a case of medical malpractice. Many people never end up calling an attorney, even after they were injured by a medical mistake because the injury victim blames themselves. 

This page has information to help you figure out when to call a lawyer for a medical malpractice case. When you’ve decided it’s time to get help with your medical malpractice lawsuit, contact an experienced medical malpractice law firm to get more information. 

Did My Doctor Commit Malpractice?

If you suffered an injury while receiving medical care, how can you be sure it was malpractice and not just a risk of treatment? Medical malpractice is a breach of the doctor’s duty of care to the patient that causes an injury and harm. A doctor could be considered negligent if they deviate from the medical standards of care, which causes injury and harm to the patient. 

A breach of the standard of care occurs when the doctor does something that a reasonable doctor would not have done under similar circumstances. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, this can be shown by using a medical expert to explain to the jury the accepted medical standards of care and whether the doctor deviated from these standards. 

There are always risks associated with medical surgery and other types of treatment but it is important for your doctor to make sure you understand those risks before going under the knife. 

If a doctor does not give you information about the risks and benefits of the treatment, that could be considered a lack of informed consent. Informed consent means the patient understands the treatment, the risks and possible side effects, benefits, and alternative options. Without that information, a patient cannot make meaningful decisions about their healthcare. 

Are My Injuries Enough for a Lawsuit?

Some patients do not think their injuries are severe enough to justify a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, it is important to understand the full impact of your injuries and how your injury could continue to cause harm in the future. 

There are often complications associated with a medical injury. Even if the pain or medical conditions are not as serious now, they could get worse in the future. For example, a medical injury that results in chronic but mild back pain could get worse later on. If you end up with a permanent back injury, that could limit your ability to work, leave you suffering pain and limited mobility, and even be considered a permanent disability. 

Do not downplay your injuries. Even if you think you are tough enough to deal with the injuries, think of the long-term consequences of letting the negligent doctor off the hook. They may continue to practice medicine while you are left disabled and in pain. 

What Happens If I Don’t Call a Lawyer?

If you don’t call a lawyer after a medical malpractice injury, your case may never get to court. If you wait too long to call a lawyer, it may be too late to finally get help for your medical injury. Medical malpractice doesn’t just impact one person who is injured, it can impact other patients in the future. 

For example, if you are injured by a negligent surgeon who caused serious harm, and no one steps forward to hold the surgeon responsible, they will continue practicing and could injure another person in the future. However, if you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the doctor and hospital will be aware of the problem. When you win a settlement award, the hospital may take the situation more seriously and could make changes to avoid similar accidents in the future. 

Another consequence of not doing anything is that you will likely never recover money for your losses. A medical malpractice injury can be very expensive for the injury victim. A serious injury will not only result in expensive medical bills but it could require additional medical care for the rest of the patient’s life. An injury could mean loss of income and fewer income opportunities. Some injuries will leave the patient suffering chronic pain. Calling a lawyer could be your first step to recovering money damages to compensate you for your losses. 

Is There a Time Limit for Medical Malpractice?

There is a limited amount of time to call a medical malpractice lawyer after a medical injury. The time limit to file a lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations. Each state has a statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. If the lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations runs out, the injury victim may lose their right to seek compensation. 

The statute of limitations can be very strict. If you file a lawsuit even one day late, it could mean losing out on your rights to recover damages for your injuries. However, there may be additional time to file a claim in certain situations, including injuries to minors who may have additional time to file a lawsuit. It is important to call a lawyer before it is too late, so contact a lawyer as soon as you become aware of a medical injury. 

Time Limit for Chicago Medical Malpractice

If you suffered an injury caused by medical malpractice injury in Illinois, the statute of limitations only allows for a limited time to file a lawsuit. In most cases, the injury victim has 2 years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against the doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider. However, you may have more time to file a claim if the injury was not discovered until later. 

Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the time the injury was discovered. However, claims cannot be brought more than 4 years from the date the medical error occurred.

Minors may also have more time to file a lawsuit. For a minor injury victim (under the age of 18), a claim cannot be brought more than 8 years after the date of the injury. However, in no event may the cause of action be brought after the person’s 22nd birthday. These exceptions can be confusing so it is better to talk about them with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer who understands the local Illinois medical malpractice laws. 

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Baltimore

The statute of limitations in Maryland for most medical malpractice claims is the earlier of five years of the date of the injury or within three years from the date the injury was discovered. For example, if you had surgery in 2019 and realized shortly after that you suffered a serious injury, you would have until 2022, three years from the date of the injury. If you did not discover the injury until 2022, you would have until 2025 to file a claim. 

The Maryland statute of limitations for minor injury victims does not begin to run until the minor reaches age 11. “If the claimant was under the age of 11 years at the time the injury was committed, the time limitations prescribed in [this section] shall commence when the claimant reaches the age of 11 years.” For most child injury victims, they would have until age 14 or 16 to file a lawsuit, depending on when the injury was discovered. 

Do not leave your injury claim up to chance. Contact your medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after you discover an injury caused by medical negligence or you could lose out on financial compensation. 

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Time Limit

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is 2 years. A medical malpractice claim must be filed within 2 years of the date of the injury. However, there may be additional time if the injury was discovered later. 

Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not toll (begin to run) until the date the injury was discovered or should reasonably have been discovered. Pennsylvania used to have a “statute of repose,” where the claim cannot be filed after 7 years of the date of the injury, even if it was discovered much later. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found the statute of repose limit was unconstitutional. 

A time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim should not be the same for an adult as for a child. The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice injury lawsuit for minors does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of 18. This means for most child malpractice victims, they have until before their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit. If you have any questions about the statute of limitations in your area, contact your medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. 

How Can I Afford to Pay For a Malpractice Lawyer?

If you are having trouble paying your medical bills, how could you afford to pay for a lawyer? The good news is that most medical malpractice lawyers won’t require you to pay anything upfront for legal help. This is because most medical malpractice law firms work on a contingency fee. A contingency fee means that the lawyer does not get paid until you recover money for your injuries. 

A contingency fee agreement will generally provide for a percentage of the settlement or jury award. For example, if your attorney has a contingency agreement and they recover $1 million for you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, then your attorney would then be paid based on a percentage of the award, plus any litigation costs and expenses. 

The benefit of a contingency fee is that it allows people without a lot of money to bring a case against the medical companies and insurance companies. Without contingency options, most people could not afford to carry the costs of litigation against big insurance companies, which may take years to settle or eventually go to trial. 

If you want to know about a contingency agreement for your lawsuit, contact a medical malpractice attorney. Make sure you understand how the fee agreement works before you decide who to hire. 

Can I Call If a Family Member Died From Medical Malpractice?

When a family member dies after receiving medical care, the family may have a lot of questions about what went wrong. The doctors and hospitals may offer their condolences but they may not give you the answers you’re looking for. Unfortunately, hospitals may not even take the family concerns that seriously until a medical malpractice lawyer gets involved. 

If a loved one dies because of negligence, they are not alive to make sure the people responsible are held accountable. However, under wrongful death claims, the family members may be able to take the negligent doctor to court to recover compensation for losses to the family. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the beneficiaries of the estate can recover money for loss of support, loss of benefits, funeral expenses, and other damages. 

Wrongful death laws vary by state. In many states, only a personal representative can file a wrongful death claim. In other states, spouses, children, or other family members may be able to file the lawsuit. The time limit to file a wrongful death claim also varies by state, so contact a malpractice law firm as soon as possible to make sure your claim is filed in time. 

Time to Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer  

If you think there is a chance you were injured because a doctor made a mistake or the hospital was cutting corners, you may have a medical malpractice claim. A quick call to an experienced medical malpractice attorney can go a long way to giving you comfort and support, that your case will be taken seriously and help you get money for your losses. 

Call experienced medical malpractice attorneys who can look at your case, answer your questions, and help you understand your legal options to file a claim against a doctor or hospital after a medical error. Contact Gilman & Bedigian online or at 800-529-6162 for a free consultation.

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