What Victims of Medical Malpractice Should Know Before Suing Their Doctors
For patients who have suffered a life-altering injury or condition, receiving proper care becomes expensive and cumbersome. The new, challenging condition worsens if victims fear it was caused by a previously trusted physician’s error, negligence, or malice, also known as medical malpractice.
Victims may gain substantial monetary gains to help pay for their care and emotional damages from a medical malpractice suit. Knowing some essential information will help victims decide if they should move forward and key facts to gather.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Before a victim can file suit for medical malpractice, understand what the term encompasses. Medical malpractice is when a doctor or other medical professionals fail to “competently perform” their medical duties and harm a patient.
What Do You Need To Proof In A Medical Malpractice Case?
To successfully file a medical malpractice case, victims will need to prove a few things:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed: If a doctor treated you, this would be easy to prove. This condition exists to protect consulting physicians or unsolicited medical advice.
- Negligence: During the case, your lawyers will need to prove the doctor committed a negligent act in either diagnosing you or an error in treatment occurred. You’ll need to show the doctor caused you to harm in a way that a more competent doctor would not have.
- The injury caused specific harm: You’ll need to prove you suffered physical pain, emotional anguish, lost earning capacity, and/or additional costly medical care or bills.
How long do you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Carolina?
Some states have unique rules around medical malpractice. North Carolina enforces as a three-year statute of limitations on patients to file a medical malpractice suit. So, a patient must file the lawsuit within three years of the error occurring. Understanding and balancing this deadline is vital because patients will want to gain Maximum Medical Improvement through therapies before suing in order to demonstrate long-term damage.
However, the three-year rule has some exceptions. Suppose a patient’s injury doesn’t develop immediately after the error occurs and does not become apparent until two or more years since the error. In that case, a patient has one year from the date of discovering the injury to file a malpractice suit.
Another exception is the North Carolina section 1-15 mandates, which prohibits any medical malpractice cases from being filed more than four years passed since the date the medical error occurred unless a foreign object, such as a surgical instrument, is found inside a patient. In this case, the suit must be filed within 365 days of the patient’s discovery of the foreign object, as long as the surgery in which the object was left behind happened within 10 years.
What Should I Do If I Want To File A Medical Malpractice Suit In North Carolina?
If you have suffered an injury or severe condition resulting from a medical error or negligence, call Hyland + Padilla offices immediately. Our team has experienced winning record-setting recoveries in medical malpractice cases. Our expert legal team can guide you in filing a swift suit to help you win damages to pay for your ongoing care.