How do I pursue a potential malpractice claim?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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How do I pursue a potential malpractice claim?

I had surgery 9 months ago and have had problems ever since. I still can’t walk without a limp and can’t even touch the surgery spot. The operation was on the right ankle; bone spur removed and achilles stretched re-attached. The doctor’s office refuses to see me due to a balance. However I don’t feel that I should finish paying with having this much problem. I normally play softball and am very active but can’t do any of those things. I’m even having a lot of problems with stairs at my job. I am in pain at all times.

Asked on July 27, 2011 Alabama


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In order to determine whether or not there is a viable case for medical malpractice, it would be advisable to get the opinion of another doctor, who would examine you and review your medical records.  Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is based on the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable doctor in the same community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances). 

If the second doctor's opinion supports a finding of malpractice, it would be advisable to retain a medical malpractice attorney.  It may be possible to settle the case with the first doctor's insurance carrier.  Your claim would include compensation for medical bills, compensation for wage loss and compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine the amount of compensation for pain and suffering.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the doctor's insurance carrier, you can reject those offers and file a lawsuit against the doctor for negligence.  You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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