As per a CNBC report, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer. A recent study claimed that nearly 250,000 people in the country die every year from medical errors.
If you’ve been injured by the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is often the best way to recover damages from your injuries, especially if they’re serious enough that they can’t be treated with over-the-counter medications.
However, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit isn’t always easy. It requires specific steps and procedures that vary from state to state.
Here’s how Arkansas residents can go about filing such cases:
Step 1: Gather Information and Evidence
The first step in filing a personal injury lawsuit is to gather all the necessary evidence and information. This includes:
● Documentation of your injury and its effect on your life.
● Medical records, including hospital discharge summaries, doctor’s notes, lab reports, and X-rays.
● Testimony from doctors who examined you after the incident or treated you afterward. If possible, it’s also helpful to have them review their notes before testifying so that they can give more complete answers when asked by opposing counsel during depositions or at trial.
● Evidence of negligence by the defendant or someone working for him/her (this could include testimony from witnesses).
Step 2: Consult with a Medical Malpractice Attorney
As you start your journey, it’s important to consult with an attorney. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be complicated, and having someone on your side who is familiar with the ins and outs of this type of lawsuit will be invaluable for navigating the process.
Your lawyer should be local to the town of your filing a lawsuit. If you are filing a lawsuit in Fayetteville, Arkansas, you should hire a Fayetteville personal injury lawyer.
There are plenty of good reasons to use one in Fayetteville, in this case. First, you’ll need someone who understands these issues to assess whether negligence was involved in any way.
Second, finding out how much money is owed after suing requires knowing local laws well enough that they can predict what kind of settlement might work best under the conditions. This takes experience practicing law locally.
Step 3: File the Complaint and Serve It to the Defendants
According to KevinMD.com, 50,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed every year. Each doctor has a 5% chance of being sued every year, and every doctor will likely be sued once in 20 years.
After you have completed the complaint and affidavit, your attorney will file it in the appropriate court. The court clerk will then issue a summons and complaint to each defendant named in your lawsuit.
The clerk will mail copies of these documents with instructions on how they should be served at each defendant’s address. A copy must also be sent by registered or certified mail with the return receipt requested so that you can prove the notice was given, as this will serve as evidence later on.
Keep in mind that Arkansas has a statute of limitation for a medical malpractice case, which is generally two years, so it’s important to file a case as soon as possible.
Step 4: Answer the Complaint within 30 Days
Once you’ve filed your complaint, the defendant will receive a copy of it. The next step is for them to answer the complaint by filing a response with the court. In Arkansas, this must be done within 30 days of receiving notice of your claim. This period can be extended if both parties agree.
Why file an answer? By answering your complaint, the defendant is essentially saying “yes” or “no” to each statement made in it. If they deny any statements, they will have to provide evidence in support of those denials, and that’s just what you want. If they can’t refute any claims made against them (or don’t even try), then their credibility goes down even more when it comes time for trial.
Step 5: Attend the Discovery Process
Discovery is the process of gathering evidence to prove your case. It can be used by both sides to prepare for trial.
Discovery may include interviews, depositions (testimony under oath), and viewing medical records. You should make sure you understand what discovery entails and what you will need to provide for the other side’s attorney(s) or insurance adjuster to obtain access to your medical records.
Step 6: Go to Trial If Not Settled Beforehand
If your case is not settled beforehand, you will have to go to trial. A judge will hear the case and decide whether you are entitled to compensation.
Unlike in other types of cases, it is rare for a jury to be involved in medical malpractice lawsuits. This is because most medical malpractice cases are resolved before trial through mediation or settlement negotiations.
If you have suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the negligent hospital or doctor. If you are in Arkansas and believe that your doctor was negligent, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to discuss your case and learn more about filing a claim.