Medical Negligence litigation – Course of Action
It is not less than a venture to file and proceed with a medical negligence case. If you are unaware of the tool of the trade, it is recommended to seek expert help. Legal practitioners in this domain, being cognizant of all pertinent rules and regulations, can better guide you towards success. There is a legal procedure that is to follow for proceeding with medical negligence claim. Here is an overview of litigation process:
- Once claim is legally filed, the accused party must be sent a ‘letter of claim’. This letter is to inform them about medical negligence complaint reported against them. They are given few weeks to collect relevant information, prepare for defense and act in response to this letter.Both parties can come to a settlement out of court in this allowed duration.
- However, if no solution is reached or defendants are not ready to accept their mistake, claimant can go on with particulars of negligence and particulars of claim. The defendant then has to issue his formal statement of defense.
- Legal experts of both parties prepare their reports and exchange information. Still if no settlement is reached, court trial is the last resort.
One most important thing about medical negligence case filing is legal time limitation. Though this time limit may vary from state to state, it is generally the period of three years after the malpractice incident. The limit starts from the time the injuries caused by medical negligence become known. Thus, if you feel you have suffered some malpractice today, you have thirty-six months to file a legal claim against it. However, there are following exceptions:
- If medical negligence victim was child or younger than 18 years of age, as in case of birth injuries, 3-year time limit will not be applied.
- If victim was mentally unfit when injury occurred, the time limit will start right after his recovery.
- It is also at the discretion of court to decide whether an out of the time case can be filed or not.
Until very recently majority of medical negligence case proceedings were given legal funding by tax payers. But now such funding and aid has been nullified. No one is given any financial assistance for his medical negligence case unless he is proved very poor to pay these costs. However, different new policies have been introduced for the funding of malpractice litigations such as conditional agreements or ‘no win no fee’ claims. These insurance policies take money from patients to meet their legal charges if they do not win their medical negligence case. This has actually made it difficult for poor victims to bring their rightful medical negligence cases in court. While doctors are being unreasonable favored in this litigious culture. Negligent medical practitioners can easily evade legal action against them.
It is just because of above mentioned legal complexities that people avoid medical negligence litigations. Sometimes legal procedures make claimants suffer more than they have had due to malpractice injuries. However, in view of long term benefits brought by legal actions against negligent medical practitioners, all litigation hassles are justified. Though the compensation awarded to a claimant cannot always make up for the damages caused by medical negligence, but it can save many others from in hands of incompetent and negligent practitioners.