How do I pursue a potential malpractice claim?

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How do I pursue a potential malpractice claim?

I had surgery 9 months ago and have had problems ever since. I still can’t walk without a limp and can’t even touch the surgery spot. The operation was on the right ankle; bone spur removed and achilles stretched re-attached. The doctor’s office refuses to see me due to a balance. However I don’t feel that I should finish paying with having this much problem. I normally play softball and am very active but can’t do any of those things. I’m even having a lot of problems with stairs at my job. I am in pain at all times.

Asked on July 27, 2011 Alabama

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In order to determine whether or not there is a viable case for medical malpractice, it would be advisable to get the opinion of another doctor, who would examine you and review your medical records.  Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is based on the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable doctor in the same community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances). 

If the second doctor's opinion supports a finding of malpractice, it would be advisable to retain a medical malpractice attorney.  It may be possible to settle the case with the first doctor's insurance carrier.  Your claim would include compensation for medical bills, compensation for wage loss and compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine the amount of compensation for pain and suffering.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the doctor's insurance carrier, you can reject those offers and file a lawsuit against the doctor for negligence.  You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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