Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
When we decide to place ourselves under the care of a trusted doctor of physician, it can be due to a pressing health problem, a surgical procedure to replace a hip or knee, or part of routine care. However regardless of the circumstances that cause you to come under the care of a doctor, trust is implicit in the relationship. You trust your medical professional to take all reasonable steps to address your medical condition or health situation. However, not every visit to the hospital or doctor’s office is ends up improving your health. Rather, a doctor or nurse who is negligent in his or her duties can inflict significant amounts of pain and suffering. For some, these injuries can result in death.
If you have been injured due to a misdiagnosis, surgical error, anesthesia error or other forms of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your severe injuries. You may have questions about how to proceed following a medical injury. The Law Practice of Ken Kieklak can work on your behalf and stand up to the insurance company. This guide should help you determine your next step.
What is medical malpractice?
The first step is assessing whether it is possible that medical malpractice occurred. Medical malpractice is a defined term and it means something more than that the patient simply experienced a bad medical outcome. Bad medical outcomes can occur for a variety of reasons including when the medical professional followed all reasonable medical procedures. Thus, medical malpractice occurs when something more than a bad result occurs. Medical malpractice is when a physician, nurse or other professional deviates from an acceptable standard of medical care and an injury occurs. Re-use of medical implements or use of defective medical implements can also constitute malpractice. The standard of care is what a reasonably prudent medical professional would or would not do under the same or substantially similar circumstances.
Generally, it can be difficult to make this determination definitively without reviewing your medical data and information. But one question that you can ask yourself is whether the provider was negligent in providing care. This may not be obvious, but if you suspect negligence you should speak to an experienced attorney immediately.
Don’t talk to the insurance company, call a seasoned medical malpractice attorney
Maybe another medical provider told you that he or she suspected that your treating doctor committed malpractice. Maybe you received a contrite call from your original doctor with a quick apology. Or perhaps you received a call from the doctor’s insurance company to settle the matter. Regardless of how you became aware of your possible medical malpractice injury, the other side is likely to try to convince you to settle early before you are aware of the full extent of damages and hardships that you injuries or condition will cause. Many times, these initial settlement offers will not fully or adequately cover your injuries.
For difficult negotiations like these, and especially in light of the fact that you may not be at your best due to the injuries and trauma you sustained, the steady hand of a seasoned medical malpractice attorney can be extremely valuable.
Inaction can cause your medical malpractice claim to be foreclosed
Most legal actions are governed by what is known as a statue of limitations. The statute of limitations provides the time limits for how long you have to bring your lawsuit in a court of law. In Arkansas the general rule is that you have only two years to bring your claim from when you knew or should have known about your injury and the malpractice. If you fail to bring legal action within this time period, your case is likely to be time-barred unless there is an exception to this general rule. Exceptions to this general rule can occur due to the discovery rule. The discover rule will toll, or stop, the statute of limitations from running if the victim could not reasonably discern that he or she was injured or that the source of the injury was medical malpractice. However, in Arkansas the discovery rule is limited to those situations where a foreign object was left behind in the patient’s body following a surgical procedure. Medical malpractice suits of this type may, typically, be brought within 1 year of the discovery of the foreign object. Other exceptions apply when the victim is under age 11 or a minor, when the victim has a mental disability, when the defendant leaves the state, or when the malpractice is discovered close to the limitations deadline and a notice of intent to sue is filed within 30 days of its expiration.
Contacting an experienced attorney immediately after becoming aware of a serious medical malpractice injury can help prevent your claim from being barred due to the passage of time alone. Call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak today at (479) 251-7767 or contact us online today.
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