Common Challenges in a Medical Malpractice Case
Ragain & Clark January 17, 2023
Suffering harm as a result of medical malpractice can feel incredibly isolating. Of all the different types of personal injury claims, they are typically the most complex. Many people simply feel paralyzed and cannot take action until it’s too late. If you believe that you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, you need a medical malpractice lawyer on your side.
Determining Whether You Have a Claim
The first step is often the hardest for a variety of reasons, but this is especially so in a medical malpractice case. Because outcomes are never guaranteed and side effects or complications can be common, the fact that you suffered some adverse outcome or your treatment was not successful is not sufficient to support a claim. To pursue a claim, you need to have reason to believe that the healthcare provider responsible for your situation breached the standard of care in some way. This can include the following:
- Failure to disclose known risks and side effects
- Surgical errors
- Anesthetic errors
What makes this challenging is determining how the malpractice occurred. For example, perhaps your doctor misdiagnosed your illness because they failed to carefully review your medical history. The anesthetist may have administered the wrong anesthetic because your allergies were not properly documented. Whatever your case may be, you must be able to prove that a medical provider with the same training and same experience would have avoided the mistake. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will know whether you might have a claim and know what evidence you will need to prove it.
The Evidence is Complex
While evidence can be challenging in any personal injury claim, the evidence in a medical malpractice case can be especially complex. A car accident, for example, typically involves concepts and terminology that can be understood by most people, at least insofar as identifying the cause of the accident and how the other driver was negligent.
The evidence in a medical malpractice case, on the other hand, can be much more difficult. It can consist of lab results, medical reports, expert opinions, and other documentation that involves complex medical terminology.
It can also be challenging to get the evidence you need, as most of it will be in the possession of the healthcare facility where you were treated. While you have access to your own medical records, other documents that you need may require the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney who can subpoena those records on your behalf.
The Claim Process is Difficult to Navigate
Many personal injury claims can be quickly settled between the parties and the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. This is partly because negligence can be easier to identify in those cases and the evidence is easier to obtain. If the facts are not in dispute and liability is clear, then the discussion will shift to how much compensation the injured party is entitled to. To revisit our earlier example, the parties in a car accident exchange insurance information at the scene of the accident for this reason. If they are unable to settle the claim, the injured party can then file a lawsuit.
While the basic process is the same for medical malpractice cases, the details are much different. To begin, the healthcare provider will not likely admit that they committed medical malpractice and therefore will not let you speak with their malpractice insurance carrier. More than likely, they will refuse to communicate with you about your claim. As a result, you will likely have to involve a medical malpractice attorney from the outset.
In addition, proceeding to litigation is not as simple in medical malpractice cases. In Montana, you must first file your claim with the Medical Legal Panel before you can file a lawsuit. Wyoming used to have a similar requirement but recently repealed it.
Lastly, medical malpractice claims often depend on expert testimony. You need someone who is not only a subject-matter expert but also has experience with the legal system and is comfortable testifying under oath.
Talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney at Ragain & Clark, PC
The medical malpractice attorneys at Ragain & Clark have decades of experience in helping medical malpractice victims across Wyoming and Montana get fair compensation for their claims. Compassionate and aggressive, we hold medical providers accountable for their negligence. To discuss your case and how we can help, call us today at 307-388-6400 (Worland) or 406-651-8888 (Billings) or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.