shutterstock_123461680You’ve probably heard the old idiom, “to err is human,” and you understand that everyone makes mistakes from time to time. You can even forgive minor mistakes and laugh off the accident later. But some mistakes can leave you severely injured, in immense pain, or on the brink of death. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 12,000 people die every year due to unnecessary surgery, 7,000 due to medication errors, and another 20,000 due to other hospital errors.

When your personal doctor or your medical team at a hospital fail to provide adequate care, you shouldn’t dismiss their negligence as a laughing matter. If you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can receive compensation for your suffering and to help cover the cost of your medical bills. Before you file, be sure to have the following things to remember in mind as you prepare your lawsuit.

The Medical Professional Involved

You and your doctor need to have a physician-patient relationship. For your case to go through, you must prove that you hired the doctor you intend to sue and that the doctor agreed to perform the service. If you happened to overhear a doctor giving bad medical advice at a party, you can’t pursue your case. On the other hand, if you had a staph infection and the ER team made you wait for hours while your condition worsened, you would have a viable case.

How Long You Need to File a Claim

Before you file for medical malpractice, you need to determine how much time you have to legally make a claim. Civil claims have time limits, known as the statutes of limitations, and these limitations vary by state. In New Jersey, for example, you have to file professional malpractice cases within 2 years of the injury. If you wait longer than that, the court will likely dismiss your case.

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Whether Your Case Has Merit

If your doctor did not meet the standards for his or her field, you might not have a case if you didn’t suffer any harm from their practice. To confirm your claim, you have to meet with another physician to confirm that your original healthcare provider deviated from standard procedure. Additionally, you’ll need the physician to validate that the malpractice caused you physical pain, mental anguish, or additional medical bills. After that, you’ll need to take that confirmation to a lawyer who can help you file for a certificate of merit.

If you know you have a valid case and your statutes of limitations have yet to expire, don’t wait to talk to a lawyer. He or she can help you file a claim from start to finish, so you can receive your due compensation.