How serious is medical malpractice in the U.S.? Are you at risk? If medical malpractice happens to you, what’s your legal recourse? Everyone needs medical care sooner or later, and medical malpractice is a serious concern.

You’ll learn what it takes to prevail if you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, and what documents and evidence you’ll need to have.

WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

Medical malpractice is actually the third leading cause of death in the United States. The extent of the problem has been known for at least two decades.

The Institute of Medicine told us in 1999 that nearly 100,000 people die each year in this country because of medical malpractice.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that medical malpractice is linked to 180,000 deaths every year.

And a 2013 report in the Journal of Patient Safety says that every year in this country, more than 200,000 patient fatalities are linked to some type of preventable medical malpractice.

IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE, WHERE CAN YOU TURN?

If you are a victim of medical malpractice in or near the New York City area, you deserve justice. Discuss your legal rights at once with an experienced Bronx medical malpractice attorney.

Medical malpractice victims are entitled by New York law to compensation for their additional medical expenses and lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and all other losses and damages arising from the incident of medical malpractice.

But being “entitled” to compensation doesn’t mean it’s simply handed to you. You’ll have to prove that medical malpractice happened and was a direct cause of your injury and suffering.

WHAT WILL YOUR LAWYER NEED?

Whether or not medical malpractice happened can often be determined by a close examination of the pertinent medical records and related documents. Most medical malpractice cases, in fact, rely on the evidence of the medical documents.

For a medical malpractice lawsuit to prevail, the claim must be proven with irrefutable evidence that medical malpractice took place. That evidence is usually found in the documentation.

Here’s what your lawyer will need if you choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit:

1. Your Medical Records
2. Your Mental Health Records
3. Your Prescription Drug History
4. Your Health Insurance
5. Your Medical Bills and Invoices
6. Any Documents Received from the Defendant
7. Any Other Pertinent Documents

WHY ARE MEDICAL RECORDS SO IMPORTANT IN MALPRACTICE CASES?

#1. Medical Records: In a medical malpractice case, the medical records usually tell the story.

Let’s say that you are suing a hospital because you were neglected by the nursing staff. The nurses’ notes in your medical records can show what kind of care you actually received.

If you do not have copies of all of your own medical records, at least give your lawyer a list of the healthcare providers you’ve seen, and your lawyer will be able to obtain your medical records:

WHAT OTHER RECORDS WILL YOUR ATTORNEY NEED?

#2. Mental Health Records: If you’ve been seen for any reason by any psychiatrists, psychologists, or psychotherapists, your lawyer will need to review the records.

It doesn’t matter if your mental health treatment was related to the malpractice or the reason you were being treated when malpractice happened. You lawyer will still need to see the records.

Like medical records, if you do not have your own mental health records, be able to give your lawyer a list of your mental health care providers.

#3. Prescription Drug History: Your attorney will need to know the names of any medications prescribed to you, the dates of those prescriptions, and the dosage amounts.

#4. Your Health Insurance: Your lawyer will need to know the extent of your health coverage. Have a copy of your health or disability policy, or if you are covered by a group plan, proof of your coverage.

#5. Your Medical Bills and Invoices: Your lawyer will need to know how much you (or your insurance company) were charged for medical treatment and care. Keep a copy of any medical bills or invoices.

WHAT ABOUT PERTINENT “NON-MEDICAL” DOCUMENTS?

#6. Documentation of Lost Wages: If you have lost time from work due to medical malpractice, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages.

Your attorney will need proof that you actually lost wages because of your malpractice-related injury. If you don’t have your earnings records or pay stubs, your attorney can request the records from your employer.

#7. Any Documents Received from the Defendant: If you received anything at all from the defendant in your malpractice case, your lawyer will need to see it.

For example, if you are suing the manufacturer of a defective medical device, you may have several pieces of written correspondence with the manufacturer.

#8. Any Other Pertinent Documents: This is a broad category, but any paperwork or documentation that might strengthen your medical malpractice case should be shared with your attorney.

HOW CAN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER HELP?

Medical malpractice law is complicated. A medical malpractice claim is not something that you can handle on your own.

In New York, if you are victimized twice – first by a health issue and then by a negligent healthcare provider – take your case at once to an experienced Bronx medical malpractice attorney.

Your attorney will evaluate the facts in your case, offer sound insights and advice, and explain your legal rights, options, and alternatives.

WHAT DOES A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE VICTIM NEED TO PROVE?

Whenever a healthcare provider fails to follow standard procedures, misdiagnoses a medical condition, writes the wrong prescription, or makes a surgical mistake, if a patient is harmed, it’s probably medical malpractice.

To prevail with a medical malpractice claim, the injured victim’s attorney must prove that a healthcare provider breached the legal and professional duty of care.

The injured victim and his or her malpractice lawyer then must prove that the breach of the duty of care was the direct cause of the personal injury or injuries suffered by the victim.

Finally, medical malpractice victims and their lawyers have to prove that the personal injury or injuries caused damages that can be quantified monetarily, and they must detail the extent of those damages.

If you are – or if you become – a victim of medical malpractice in New York, get the legal help you need immediately. Medical malpractice is not tolerated in this state, and the law will be on your side.