Don’t Lose Your License: How to Defend Yourself Against a Medical Malpractice Suit

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There were over 16,000 medical malpractice claims against physicians in 2001 and since then, the amount per year has been dropping. 

Just because these cases are becoming less common doesn’t mean that it won’t happen to you.

A medical malpractice suit can be a nerve-wracking, scary experience, but with the help of an attorney, you’ll be able to set the story straight.

If you want to know about creating a defense for a malpractice suit, keep reading to learn more.

Medical Malpractice Suits: What to Know

The first thing that happens in a medical malpractice lawsuit is receiving the complaint.

The person that brings the lawsuit, your patient, will be considered the plaintiff. Generally, the complaint is going to explain what the plaintiff is alleging happened and will make a request for damages.

Do not contact the plaintiff without the help of an attorney!

With the complaint, you will also get a summons. The summons is going to tell you how long you have until you have to respond to the lawsuit.

Meeting With An Attorney

After you get the complaint, it is wise to schedule a meeting with your lawyer. If you don’t have one already, it may be worth talking to your colleagues or individuals in your workplace to find out if one is available to you.

You need an experienced medical license attorney on your side to protect you from the plaintiff’s complaint.

They are capable of suing you for millions of dollars, depending on what happened, and having a strong defense is important.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Getting a qualified defense attorney is a good idea, but it is not going to come cheap. You need to find out if your medical malpractice insurance policy has a provision for “duty to defend”. If so, the insurer may pay for all or part of your defense fees. 

Even without the provision, you still need to report the complaint to your insurer. They need to know that the medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed against you. 

Check your policy to find the right contact number.

You must tell the insurer:

  • When you got the complaint in the mail
  • Plaintiff information (including name and address)
  • Plaintiff’s attorney and contact information
  • Explanation of the treatment plaintiff received 
  • Date and location of the plaintiff treatment

Remember What Happened

The lawsuit is focusing on your actions as a medical professional, so try to recall how you treated the patient and if you were competent in your treatment methods.

You need to remember what treatment was given and what information you relied on in order to give that treatment. 

Get together information on:

  • Patient medical records
  • Medical articles you may have relied on for diagnosis or treatment
  • Names of other medical professionals involved in the medical case
  • Notes on the patient or the treatment
  • Summary of consultations with fellow personnel on patient

Defending Yourself During the Trial

After you answer the complaint with the help of your attorney, you’ll prepare for trial.

Hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. A jury will be selected for this type of case, which is an important part of the process.

The trial will open with the plaintiff’s attorney making an opening statement. Afterward, your attorney will offer their own opening statement. This is to give the jury a fair chance to see what both sides have to offer in terms of evidence.

Following this, there will be a cross-examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses. You may need to testify as part of the court proceedings as well. 

After all the evidence is presented, closing arguments by both attorneys will be made and the trial will be concluded. 

Get Help With Your Malpractice Suit

Never plan to defend yourself in a malpractice suit without the help of an experienced attorney. You need their expertise, knowledge, and know-how on your side to win the case and properly defend yourself.

To get more healthcare tips and the latest news, check out some of the other posts on our website.

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