Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Medical Negligence - What You Need to Know

The need for medical attention leaves everyone vulnerable. The public must be able to trust the healthcare community and must have confidence that when something goes wrong, there will be accountability. Claims of negligence in the healthcare industry should never be made lightly as they are taken seriously by the medical field and the legal system. However, when negligence does happen, patients should fully understand their rights under the law and should know how best to have their case represented. 

An attorney’s role in medical negligence 

A claim for this kind of negligence must first be investigated by an attorney. While many claims are fairly straightforward, it is important to establish the type of negligence as well as to work to determine who is negligent. In some cases, it is a member of the direct care staff (doctors, nurses, surgeons) but in other cases, a healthcare organisation such as a hospital or nursing home may be the negligent party. Establishing the time line for events as well as understanding the claim inside and out allows an attorney to assess the case and develop a strategy for the legal claim. 

Quite often, lawyers who specialise in medical negligence cases work on a “No Win No Fee” basis. This works to the advantage of the claimant as they incur no out-of-pocket expenses before or during the trial. If the claim is rejected, the claimant loses nothing. The lawyer and their office only get paid when the claim itself is paid by the negligent party. This system also gives a level of confidence to the clients as they know the legal office will be working hard to win, and would not take on a case they felt could not win at trial. 

Although these legal professionals work with a trial in mind, they also make every attempt to have the case settled as quickly as possible. Lawyers and legal teams for doctors, surgeons, other healthcare professionals and hospitals are typically willing to discuss settlement options in order to avoid a lengthy trial. Again, this willingness to cooperate works to the advantage of the injured party. Achieving a fair settlement shortens the overall time for the claim and makes it easier for the injured party to get on with their own life. 

Easy resolutions and just compensation are entirely possible with the right strategy

Because of the negotiation involved with settlements as well as the legal challenges which must be met, cases concerning medical malpractice or negligence are best handled by qualified legal teams. The stress of a trial can be difficult for victims, and these legal teams are prepared to take the stress and worry off of the victim's shoulders. They can handle initial interviews, research, investigations and preliminary work before the trial. 

As they prepare the case, they can engage in settlement negotiations with the negligent party which can help to avoid trial. Should the case go to trial, this same team of legal professionals can navigate their way through the court system and, of course, strive for a positive outcome. People who feel they have a valid claim for this kind of negligence should always consult with an attorney so they understand their rights and how best to achieve justice. 

Nina has written on a number of different topics as a freelance writer. She has written on various aspects of consumer right and patient advocacy, including issues revolving around medical negligence. Kelly conducts her own research and writes freelance web content for a wide variety of clients.

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