When you, a physician or any other medical care provider, commits an error that hurts a patient by worsening an existing health issue or results in a new health problem or injury, you might be sued for medical malpractice. However, some outcomes depend on various factors, which are often unpreventable, meaning they’re out of your control.
Proving that you haven’t committed medical malpractice isn’t easy, especially where the patient has suffered harm. What you do after being sued for medical malpractice significantly impacts the lawsuit’s outcome. Discussed below are four steps to take after you are sued for medical malpractice.
Hire an experienced attorney
Medical malpractice cases are complex. A personal injury attorney experienced in medical malpractice cases will help you understand the medical malpractice claim better, your rights, and the options you have.
Using their expertise, the lawyer will represent you in court and fight the case on your behalf. They’ll present expert witnesses and professionally counter the plaintiff’s testimony and statements. A medical malpractice defense lawyer from a reputable firm, including Las Vegas personal injury law firm, understands medical malpractice laws well enough to prove that you acted within your profession’s standards.
Notify your insurance carrier promptly
Under a medical malpractice policy, an insurance carrier has two key obligations, including:
The duty to indemnify: The carrier is required to pay a sum up to the policy’s limit for a judgment or settlement on any covered claims against you
The duty to defend: This requires the carrier to hire an attorney (besides your private counsel) to fight the legal medical malpractice claims brought against you. It also requires your carrier to cater to the expenses relating to your defense
To protect the coverage, you, the physician, must notify the carrier promptly of any lawsuits or possible claims against you. Failure to offer immediate notice can threaten the carrier’s obligations to indemnify and defend.
Without sufficient evidence, proving your defense beyond reasonable doubt can be difficult. Gather as much relevant evidence as possible. Accurate and complete medical records are primary evidence in medical malpractice lawsuits. They can show that the care you offered was in line with the standard of care. They can also defend you against baseless claims. The documented informed consent can also come in handy in your defense. It demonstrates that the patient was well informed about the proposed treatment and that they consented to it.
Medical professionals aren’t the only ones responsible for a patient’s injuries. Patients have certain obligations to meet during, before, and after treatment. If they defy your instructions and suffer a setback, their actions amount to contributory negligence. Gather evidence to demonstrate that the injury wouldn’t have happened if the plaintiff hadn’t been negligent.
Prepare a pre-trial statement
When sued in a medical practice case, your attorney will need you to prepare a pre-trial statement. This statement gives your attorney a clear understanding of events (your version) and helps them get ready for trial. Ensure honesty and accuracy because this document can be used as evidence once the case goes to trial.
While harm can happen during treatment, you shouldn’t be held liable for injuries you aren’t responsible for. Following these steps after being sued for medical malpractice can help prove that you acted within your profession’s standards.