Investigating Your Medical Malpractice Claim
To prove what happened in a medical malpractice claim, the North Carolina medical malpractice lawyers 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 catastrophic injuries.
Consulting Other Doctors
To begin the investigation process, we’ll retain doctors who are usually of a similar specialty as the doctor who caused your injuries. These doctors will review your medical records and case information to determine whether there may have been a breach of the required standard of care.
If the doctors determine that negligence occurred, then we’ll proceed with retaining additional independent and unbiased professionals to give opinions on what went wrong during the course of your medical treatment.
Other Independent Experts
In addition to consulting doctors, we’ll often need to retain specialists in other areas of medicine, such as nursing experts, supervisors, or hospital administrators to explain what should have happened.
We may also retain experts who can explain the damages or losses that resulted from the malpractice, such as:
- life care planners,
- physical and occupational therapists,
- and vocational rehabilitation specialists.
An arbitration agreement is a legal document that restricts or eliminates your right to bring a lawsuit for a medical malpractice claim. Many patients either unknowingly sign, or are forced to sign, an arbitration agreement when being treated by a doctor or hospital. These agreements are most commonly used by hospitals or long-term care facilities, in addition to many other kinds of providers.
Protect Your Rights
Generally, arbitration agreements are unfair because they eliminate most, if not all, legal rights you would otherwise be entitled to. When you are given documents by a hospital or medical care provider, look carefully for legal language that addresses “arbitration.” These paragraphs will often be toward the bottom of the form.
Take your time, and read what you are asked to sign. Don’t sign an arbitration agreement unless it’s absolutely necessary. In fact, many hospitals and providers actually allow you to decline to sign such agreements and will still allow you to receive treatment.
You Can Still Take Action
Even if you signed an arbitration agreement, you can still take legal action if you were injured by the negligence of a healthcare provider. A North Carolina medical malpractice lawyer from Henson Fuerst can help. Call (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form.
Medical Malpractice Damages
Generally, if it’s proven that you are the victim of medical malpractice, you are entitled to recover compensation—or damages—for the following:
- lost wages,
- medical bills caused by the negligence of the healthcare provider or hospital,
- mental suffering,
- out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries,
- permanent disability or disfigurement,
- and physical pain.
Unfortunately, many victims of medical malpractice are also likely to have future medical costs, for additional corrective medical procedures, ongoing attendant care from a nurse or a daily care provider, physical or vocational rehabilitation, medical equipment, or future lost wages. Our North Carolina medical malpractice lawyers will take the time to evaluate all of your current and future medical expenses.
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.
Quantifying Your Losses
As your North Carolina medical malpractice lawyers, it’s our job to quantify the losses you sustained as a result of your injury. We’ll consult unbiased and impartial experts who will perform comprehensive evaluations of your needs and long-term financial costs.
HensonFuerst is here to protect your rights to compensation. Call today at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form.
North Carolina Tort Reform
For all cases filled after October 1, 2011, new limits have been imposed on the amount of compensation that can be recovered in certain cases. New requirements have also been placed on medical malpractice cases. These reforms include:
- Non-ecomnomic damages in most cases are limited to $500,000.
- Adds additional and heightened requirements that a medical expert must attest on your behalf prior to filing a lawsuit.
- Burden of proof in the treatment of “emergency medical conditions” raised to a clear and convincing legal standard.
- Juries can’t be told about the non-economic cap of $500,000.
- Shortened time frame to bring a medical malpractice claim involving a minor child or someone who is declared insane or incompetent.
Request Medical Records
Under the federal law called the Health Information Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA), you have the right to request many of your medical records.
These medical records may include:
- billing information,
- doctors’ notes,
- lab reports,
- medical test results,
- and more.
To retrieve medical records, you must be the patient, or you must have the written permission of the patient. If the patient is deceased, you may only request medical records if you are the patient’s next-of-kin (spouse, child, parent, grandchild, sibling, niece or nephew) or have the written permission of the patient’s next-of-kin.
A North Carolina medical malpractice lawyer at Henson Fuerst can help you interpret these laws.
Release of Information Form
Hospitals and most doctors’ offices have a release of information form that you must complete in order to request medical records. In most cases, you can request records directly from your treating healthcare provider’s office or the hospital’s medical records department.
By North Carolina law, healthcare facilities, including hospitals, are required to maintain medical records for:
- up to seven years for Medicare and Medicaid investigations,
- up to six years for HIPAA,
- and until a minor patient turns 30 years old.
If you need help retrieving your medical records, Henson Fuerst can help. Call our experienced North Carolina Medical Malpractice attorneys today at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form. We’re here to help prepare your case.
If you think you are the victim of medical malpractice, Henson Fuerst can help. We will pursue your Medical Malpractice claim with passion and dedication and fight hard to ensure your rights are protected.