Am I obligated to tell my doctor before I sue them?
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as the result of a doctor or other medical professionalĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s negligence or malpractice, you may wonder how you should proceed in such a difficult situation. Should you decide to seek damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages or other losses by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, then there are some important aspects of Florida law that could be relevant in your circumstance.
What should your first steps be? Initially, it is crucial that you hire an excellent medical malpractice attorney immediately after the injury or death to avoid making costly mistakes that could damage your case. Due to the nature of Florida laws, medical malpractice lawsuits are often expensive and time-consuming to conduct. An expert medical malpractice attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the law and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
You should also get all of your medical records. Do not tell the doctor that you are going to sue them for medical malpractice. You donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t have to disclose this, nor should you. If asked, you can tell them you are seeking a second opinion when approaching them for medical records. Occasionally, when our firm requests clientsĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ medical records at a later date, they do not match up with the records previously obtained by the client, so it is very important that you take initiative in getting your records as soon as possible.
After you hire a medical malpractice attorney to handle your case, a Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation, or Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Pre-Suit Notice,Ă˘â‚¬Âť must be issued to inform the potential defendant (the doctor or hospital) of the claimantĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s intent to begin litigation for medical negligence. A Pre-Suit Notice must occur after a required investigation, but before a complaint for medical negligence is filed. After the Notice has been issued to the doctor, a lawsuit may not be filed until 90 days have passed. This period is intended to give both parties time to conduct their own Pre-Suit Investigations.
During a Pre-Suit Investigation, the patient (or select family members, if deceased) seeking to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctorĂ˘â‚¬â€ťknown as the claimantĂ˘â‚¬â€ťmust prove that the named defendant in the lawsuit was negligent in their care or treatment of the claimant, and that their negligence resulted in the injury or death of the claimant. The doctor must also conduct an investigation as well. After the Pre-Suit Notice has been mailed to the defendant, the defendant or his/her insurance company, has 90 days to investigate and review the claim.
The law also states that the claimant must obtain an expert witness to determine whether or not the evidence indicates that the potential defendantĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s negligence resulted in the injury or death in question. This expert must be the same kind of doctor as the potential defendant. For example, if an orthopedic surgeon performed a procedure incorrectly resulting in injury, then the expert witness would also need to be an orthopedic surgeon. Before hiring a lawyer to handle your medical malpractice case, you should make sure that your lawyer or law firm has extensive experience with the process of hiring the best experts and conducting thorough investigations on the patientĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s behalf.
At the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller, we accept personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis, meaning you would owe us neither legal fees nor costs unless we recover money damage for youĂ˘â‚¬â€ťthus, there is no up front cost to you for us to handle the case. In addition to personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases, our firm also handles lawsuits involving divorce, custody battles, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate matters, and criminal defense cases. Our firm has offices in Gainesville, Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, Palatka, Jacksonville, Daytona, Palm Coast, St. Augustine, Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake Mary, and Melbourne.
If you or a family member has been seriously injured or died as the result of someone elseĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s negligence or malpractice, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com
BY: Stephen K. Miller, Attorney at Law
July 9, 2012