Being at the center of a medical malpractice case is a confusing, hurtful ordeal. You trust your doctors to take the best care of you and your family. So when you don't feel they have, you may feel confused and seek advice from friends, family, or the Internet. However, these are not the best sources of solid information on medical malpractice cases, how to know when you have a case, what to do to prove it, and how to win.
These five common myths get in the way of honest people who have been harmed by a medical professional. But what's even worse is when bad information comes between a patient who has been legitimately harmed and their right to compensation.
Which of these medical malpractice myths have you heard before?
- I can bring my case at any time. Most states have statutes of limitations on medical malpractice. In West Virginia, you have two years to bring a claim after being injured. Keep in mind that the clock begins ticking immediately following the action that injured you-whether you realize it yet or not. That's why it's important to begin taking action even if you just suspect an injury.
- My injury following a procedure is all the proof I need. The standard of proof for medical malpractice cases consists of negligence, proximate cause, and injury. Your injury is just one element of your case. To win, you need to prove that your doctor provided care that was less than what another, comparably trained physician would have provided in the same situation, and you also have to prove that care directly resulted in your injury. You generally need the testimony of a physician for all three elements of your case.
- I can bring a case against a dangerous doctor even if I wasn't injured. Many people have horror stories from various doctors or hospitals, but a near miss isn't enough for a malpractice case. To win a medical malpractice case, you need to prove a quantifiable loss in terms of dollars or quality of life that is a direct result of your injury.
- There's no harm in talking to the insurance company. The insurance company will throw numbers at you in hopes of settling. Their first offer may not be their best offer, and what's more, in talking to them you may talk your way right out of a solid case.
- If you don't want a lengthy trial, you should settle. Trials aren't always long, drawn out, messy affairs. The length of the trial depends on many factors. A qualified medical malpractice attorney should be able to tell you the best route to your goal of compensation.
Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn can help you with all kinds of medical malpractice claims in West Virginia. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney, contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.