What to do before filing a malpractice claim

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals can make mistakes from time to time, and when these lead to serious injuries, they give rise to malpractice claims. Virginia residents who think they have good grounds for such a claim will want to know what’s involved in the filing process.

First, victims need to be clear about what medical negligence is. If victims would have received the same level of care from a different medical provider in the same circumstances, then negligence cannot be said to be involved. Other times, it’s obvious that the other side failed to live up to an objective standard of care, resulting in an error like a medication error, diagnostic error or surgical error.

Before filing a claim, victims should contact the medical professional about the problem they are facing and see if the professional will offer any services that could help correct it. Many times, the doctor will do so, and at no charge. If no help is forthcoming, victims can contact the medical licensing board; the board may then order the doctor to provide compensation and even discipline him or her.

Victims should keep in mind the statute of limitations on malpractice claims: in Virginia, two years from the date of injury. They must also obtain a certificate of merit before filing.

As one can see, the process of filing a professional malpractice claim can be long and complex, so victims may want a lawyer to assist with each step. The lawyer may hire third parties to conduct an investigation of the matter and bring together evidence against the defendant. As for how to achieve compensation, the lawyer will most likely recommend settling out of court and may be able to handle negotiations to that end, litigating only if all else fails.