The first thing you want to do is investigate your claim. Oftentimes, medical treatment doesn’t have optimal results, and you really want to differentiate between whether or not a physician, or hospital, or other medical professional has actually created or engaged in some kind of error, versus just having sort of a negative outcome from treatment. So what you’re going to want to do with that is get a full copy of your certified medical records and have somebody look over it for you. That could be another medical professional. It could also be an attorney.
Most attorneys will work with a medical professional that specializes in the area of medicine in which you are treated, to let them know what the standards of care are in that area of medicine. Most physicians, hospitals, and other medical providers have a general course of treatment. If somebody presents with a certain type of symptoms, or even a certain type of illness, there’s different types of generally accepted treatments that are provided for that condition. The medical professional who reviews your medical records is going to say whether or not the medical provider complied with the general standard that is in place in central Illinois or even around the country.
The second thing you’re going to want to do is really look at damages. Just because a physician or a medical provider has engaged in some kind of mistake, doesn’t necessarily mean that the person has any sort of costs associated with it. And what I mean by that is, if a physician or somebody has made a mistake in your treatment, but its caught in a pretty timely manner, and it doesn’t really result in a lot of medical treatment that the person wouldn’t have had to have anyway, and probably is not going to be worth your time or effort to sue. So you really want to differentiate between, again, what sort of medical treatment you had to have due to the physician error, as opposed to what sort of medical treatment you were going to have anyway.
If you have a catastrophic injury as a result of physician error, that’s really when you want to start preparing for a medical malpractice suit. And by that I mean, perhaps a physician missed cancer, or a laboratory test announced it being a Stage II, you’re a Stage IV, or perhaps there was some sort of tumor that went undiagnosed, or things that really result in life-changing events. That’s really when you want to start talking with an attorney or talking with the insurance of the physician to see if there’s any way to resolve that issue. Because those are the types of things that will really impact your employment, your insurance, your ability to work in the future, and all those kinds of things that can impact your ability to pay the mortgage on a day-to-day basis.
So once you talk to an attorney about whether or not malpractice has occurred and whether or not there are damages that even really make it worth your time to proceed with litigation, you need to get a certificate from a physician practicing in that area of medicine, stating that there is a valid case, and that the medical provider did engage in an error, and caused you damages. Most lawyers will help you through that process. It can be a little bit complicated, but that certificate of merit has to be attached to a lawsuit prior to even filing litigation in the circuit court of the county in where the malpractice occurred. So once you obtain that, then you can start with the general litigation. And again, it gets somewhat complicated from there, so you should probably talk with an attorney.