Collecting Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases
If you believe a medical error caused you harm, you might be considering filing a medical misconduct lawsuit against the healthcare professional who provided inadequate care. If so, you should contact a medical negligence attorney as soon as possible because the law allows only a short time to bring a malpractice action.
A legal professional at Tittle & Perlmuter will begin collecting evidence in a medical malpractice case immediately. The process can be cumbersome, but with sufficient proof that a healthcare professional did not meet the standard of care, you could secure compensation for your malpractice-related medical conditions and injuries.
Obtaining Medical Records for a Misconduct Claim
A patient’s medical records provide the most critical evidence of quality of care. These records offer a timeline, display insight into the medical provider’s thought process and decision-making, and show the information available to the healthcare professional while he or she was providing treatment.
It sometimes surprises patients that they do not own their medical records—healthcare providers and facilities own them. However, Ohio Revised Code §3701.74 requires record owners to provide a copy to a patient or their authorized representative upon request.
The provider is allowed to charge patients for their records; if the documentation is substantial, a copy could be expensive. Significant charges apply even if the provider supplies an electronic copy of the document. However, the medical record is the most important piece of evidence an attorney requires when collecting information for a malpractice suit. It is worth the cost.
Submitting the Record to a Medical Expert
Before deciding whether to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, an attorney must submit the patient’s medical record to an expert with training and experience in the same area of medicine as the practitioner who caused the patient’s injuries. The expert will review the medical record and form an opinion about whether a healthcare professional met an appropriate standard of care.
The proper standard of care depends on the circumstances. A practitioner must provide care reflecting the same degree of knowledge, judgment, and skill as a similarly trained and experienced physician. If the medical record indicates that knowledge, judgment, or skill was lacking, the expert might conclude that the practitioner did not meet the appropriate standard of care.
The law in Ohio requires a patient to submit an Affidavit of Merit when filing a medical malpractice action. The Affidavit is a statement by a medical expert that they reviewed the patient’s medical record and believe a doctor did not meet the appropriate standard of care in the patient’s case. This is another crucial piece of evidence a legal representative will collect for a medical misconduct claim.
Other Sources of Evidence
In addition to the medical record, other evidence could shed light on a practitioner’s treatment or the patient’s condition. A lawyer could investigate several avenues to obtain proof for a malpractice suit that medical error led to a patient’s health condition or injury.
Evaluating a physician’s record could produce evidence that illuminates his or her competence and integrity. For example, a legal professional could:
If the healthcare practitioner is a nurse or other licensed professional, an attorney could pursue other sources of information about their training and professional history.
Sometimes a patient’s injury relates to a defective medical device or drug side effect. In such cases, investigating whether the physician strictly adhered to warnings and guidelines regarding the drug or device could produce useful evidence. In addition, drug and device manufacturers sometimes have financial relationships with physicians or hospital departments to collect data regarding product performance. Learning whether such a relationship exists with a specific practitioner could explain the medical decision-making in the case.
Retain an Attorney for Collecting Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases
If a doctor or other medical professional harmed you by providing inadequate or incompetent care, you could bring a medical malpractice action seeking compensation. However, these complicated lawsuits require a thorough understanding of medical and legal issues.
Contact a lawyer with significant experience collecting evidence in malpractice cases. Patients have only a short time to take legal action, so call today to start a claim.