5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you or a loved one have been injured or become ill due to the negligent actions of a medical provider in California, you may be able to recover compensation. This can include coverage of your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, as well as pain and suffering damages. Here, we want to discuss five questions you need to ask yourself before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, but we strongly encourage you to reach out to a lawyer for a free consultation before making any final decisions.

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1. Was There a Breach of the Standard of Care?

Before understanding whether or not a medical professional deviated from the typical standard of care, we need to actually define what “standard of care” means for a medical professional. There are many definitions, most of which are relatively confusing when it comes to defining this term.

The standard of care in a medical setting involves looking at an imaginary doctor with similar training and in a similar geographic environment as the medical professional in question in the case. This involves analyzing whether or not this imaginary doctor would have performed in the same way as the alleged negligent doctor, given similar circumstances.

If the alleged negligent medical provider facing a lawsuit seems to have deviated from the accepted standard of care, then the case will likely move forward.

2. Did the Breach of Care Cause Harm or Injury?

You need to ask yourself whether or not the breach of duty, or the deviation from the standard of care, led to you sustaining an injury or illness. If you can show that there was a direct or indirect link between the medical provider’s actions or inaction and the injury or illness, this will be important for a jury or the insurance carriers to see.

Please keep in mind that there are times when medical professionals make mistakes during the course of their treatment, but these mistakes are remedied quickly and lead to no lasting harm to a patient. You must be able to demonstrate that there was some type of injury that occurred.

3. Is the Harm or Injury Significant?

Even if a person sustains an injury or illness caused by the negligence of a medical provider in California, it is important to look at the severity of the injury. We encourage you to speak with a skilled medical malpractice lawyer in Santa Ana and determine whether or not the injuries and damages are substantial enough to go through with their medical malpractice lawsuit. When analyzing the severity of the injury, you should also look at how the injury has impacted your life and whether or not there will be any long-term consequences.

4. Can you Establish a Clear Timeline of Events and Evidence?

As you work through your initial understanding of the case with your attorney, it is important to establish a clear timeline of the events and of the evidence that you have to move forward with. This involves having access to medical records, lab results, expert medical opinions, and any other relevant documentation that supports your claim of injury.

5. What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims in California?

You need to know whether or not you have time to file your claim. The California medical malpractice statute of limitations can be confusing because there are a few timelines you need to be aware of. Generally, there is a one-year time limit for filing medical malpractice claims after a person discovers or should have discovered the injury or illness caused by medical negligence. Generally, individuals have three years from the date of the injury to file the lawsuit, regardless of when they discovered the negligence.

This time frame is different depending on various factors, including whether or not the individual was a minor, whether or not fraud occurred, and whether there was a foreign object left behind in a person’s body. Reach out to our law firm for more legal guidance. 

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