Medical Malpractice FAQ

1. What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when doctors or healthcare workers fail to provide a standard of care that others within the same medical field consider acceptable. As a patient, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages if you’ve been injured as a result of medical negligence.

2. How is medical malpractice handled in North Carolina?

To prove what happened in your medical malpractice claim, a North Carolina meidical malpractice lawyer at Henson Fuerst must often consult a wide range of experts so we can determine the nature of your incident, as well as the long term impact of your injuries.

If the experts determine that negligence occurred, we’ll proceed with your case. We’ll evaluate the damages you may be entitled to, determine where to file your case, and fight to protect your rights to fair treatment.

3. How long do I have to file a malpractice lawsuit in North Carolina?

For negligence cases, such as medical malpractice, the statute of limitations in North Carolina is generally three years from the date of injury. For cases involving wrongful death, the statute of limitations in North Carolina is two years from the date of death.

There are a number of exceptions to these rules. That’s why it’s important to talk with a North Carolina medical malpractice attorney about your case as soon as possible after your injury. Your attorney needs time to calculate the proper statute of limitations for your case, particularly if your case involves a condition or symptom that took an extended period of time to develop or become known to you.

4. If you have to file a lawsuit in my case, where would you file it?

In most medical malpractice cases filed in North Carolina state court, the case must be filed in the county where either the plaintiff or the defendant resides or has his or her principal place of business. We’ll assess the pros and cons of filing in each of those possible venues.

If the case involves plaintiffs or defendants who are from states other than North Carolina, then we may also be able to file your lawsuit in federal court. We consider all of the possible venues and make the best decision given all the factors of your case.

5. What do I need to prove in my medical malpractice case?

Your medical malpractice claim must prove four factors to be successful:

  1. Your healthcare provider had a “duty of care.”
    The doctor or hospital who injured you must have been responsible for your care and agreed to treat you.
  2. There was a “breach of the duty of care.”
    The care you received fell below acceptable standards as determined by other medical providers within the same or similar medical community.
  3. Your medical provider showed causation.
    Your doctor or hospital’s negligent care must have caused your injuries.
  4. You suffered significant injury or impairment.
    The injuries you received must have resulted in significant injuries or impairments, such as lost wages, inability to work in the future, pain and suffering, or permanent injuries.

6. What is a structured settlement, and is it a good idea in my case?

Compensation from a medical malpractice settlement can be paid in two ways:

  • Lump Sum
    The entire settlement amount is paid all at once.
  • Structured Settlement
    The settlement is paid over time, at intervals that you decide, based on our advice.

Structured settlements can be advantageous for minors because medical needs exist over the child’s lifetime and need to be funded accordingly. They can also be a good idea for adults unable to make financial decisions independently. Structured settlements may provide financial security for malpractice victims when correctly allocated.

7. How much will it cost to hire a medical malpractice attorney?

At Henson Fuerst, most of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay us nothing unless we win or settle your case.  Some cases, however, are handled on an hourly or project basis depending on case circumstances and facts.  Call us today for an initial free case review and consultation, and we will talk further with you about how we would handle your case.

8. How do I perform a background check on my doctor?

Fortunately, as of December 2009, new laws have been passed that require the North Carolina Medical Board to provide the public with more comprehensive, professional, and legal information about the medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, and physician assistants it licenses.

Under the new rules of the Medical Practice Act, the North Carolina Medical Board must publish certain criminal convictions, disciplinary actions by licensing boards and agencies, malpractice history, and adverse privileging actions.

To research your own doctor or medical provider, visit the North Carolina Medical Board or the resources section of our website.

9. How do I know if my doctor committed medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice laws can be complex and confusing, and determining if you have a claim can be difficult. Henson Fuerst can help. We’re here to investigate the causes of your injuries and protect your rights to compensation under the law. If you’ve been injured or harmed by a medical provider’s negligence, contact our North Carolina medical malpractice lawyers today. We’re available 24/7—just dial (919) 781-1107 or fill out our free online form.