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Some steps to take before filing a medical malpractice claim

Our good health is often taken for granted, until something happens. When a Pennsylvanian comes down with a serious illness or suffers a serious injury, it can turn their world upside down. Physicians and other medical professionals can make mistakes that sometimes cause a patient to suffer further injuries and a worsened condition. When this happens, a patient may want to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there may be some steps they may want to take before doing so.

First, it can help to speak to the physician prior to taking legal action. By doing so, a patient can better understand the medical mistakes made, whether it was a failure to diagnose, a misdiagnosis or other medical mistake. Moreover, the physician may agree to fix the problem, maybe at no cost.

But, if speaking to the physician does not lead to a satisfactory resolution, a patient can get in touch with the applicable licensing board. A licensing board usually does not have the power to order a negligent physician to provide compensation to the injured patient. The licensing board can discipline the physician, as well as assist affected patients with understanding what steps to take.

Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is important for patients to make sure they are doing so within the applicable period. The time in which a person has to file a civil claim is known as the "statute of limitation." If this period has passed, a lawsuit cannot be filed.

Patients seeking compensation for medical malpractice may also need to acquire a "certificate of merit." This means that the patient needs an expert to go over the patient's medical records to verify that the physician at issue did not provide the standard level of acceptable medical care, which led to injuries.

Finally, keep in mind that filing any personal injury lawsuit can take a good deal of time and money. For these reasons, some patients opt for an out-of-court settlement. But, legal advice should be sought before either settling a claim or moving forward with a lawsuit.

Source: FindLaw.com, "First Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case," accessed on May 28, 2017

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