Kingston, New York Medical Malpractice Attorney Explains What to do if you or a Loved One Believe you are the Victim of Medical Malpractice: PART 1
Today and tomorrow’s post is a little bit more practical and I hope all of my readers can use this as a starting guide. I will post 3 important bits of advice today, and 3 other important pieces of advice tomorrow. In additionally, I will draw a little bit from my book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims. And if you are interested to learn more after this post, PLEASE contact me for a FREE copy of my book. But please note, this is for informational purposes and will never replace a direct conversation by a trained medical malpractice attorney.
So you think you or a loved one might be the victim of medical malpractice, but you aren’t sure. You think medical malpractice rarely occurs, but unfortunately you are wrong. In fact, more people die each MONTH from preventable medical errors than people who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This equates to at least 98,000 deaths a year. Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney because you are embarrassed, don’t think you have a claim, or feel like it isn’t a winning case—let the attorney and, more importantly, the court decide that!
Listed below are things that you should know and do when you think you are a victim of medical malpractice. They are not in a specific order and are all very important, so please read them carefully! In fact, you should even print this out and keep it in a safe place or copy and paste this and save it on your computer!
The first thing you need to know is that the law has what are called statute of limitations for various offenses. For medical malpractice, it is in the Civil Practice Law and Rules section 214-A which prescribes ONLY 2 and a half years from the injury to file the lawsuit! So 2 and a half years from when you think you were injured by medical malpractice. An attorney CANNOT file a lawsuit if it is longer than those 2 and a half years and your case is over right there! However, there are some exceptions to the 2 and a half years.
The first exception is a discovery rule for foreign objects found in a patient. This too is all too common, and is obvious when it happens to hire an attorney. The second exception is called the continuous treatment doctrine. What happens here is that if you are injured in a surgery—which is normally when the statute of limitations begins to run—but you have follow-up appointments with the doctor, smaller and related procedures, and some general check-ups on the condition which are scheduled and initiated by the doctor who caused the medical malpractice, the statute of limitations begins to run on THAT date. So if you are injured January 1st, 2000, your claim would normally end on July 1st, 2002. However, if you have follow-ups and other procedures until March 1st, 2001, your claim would end because of the continuous treatment doctrine on September 1st, 2003. Moral of the story is to not sit on an injury!
The second thing you need to do is talk to your doctor! They have obliged by ethical rules to give you candid information about your condition; sometimes they don’t always do that, but most doctors are good at that to a point. The more you can learn about your doctor, the better. If you feel your doctor and his or her staff is avoiding you, that is a sure tip-off something isn’t quite right and it is time to speak with an attorney.
Third, if you even suspect that you are a victim of medical malpractice you should IMMEDIATELY keep a journal/diary about your condition. On the first page or better yet the cover, you should note that this is private and confidential, it has the purpose of recording your ailments from alleged medical malpractice, and was not done at the direction of an attorney but on your own prior to representation. In this diary, you need to explain EVERYTHING that you feel physically or mentally, changes in what you can and cannot do (new limitations), episodes of health issues (such as bleeding, dizziness, etc), and anything that has resulted from what you think is medical malpractice.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2!!!
But what do you think?! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.