TOP 6 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
1. Ask doctors and nurses what happened. Ask the doctors and nurses what happened, why it happened, and whether it could have been prevented. When serious medical errors occur, more often than not, healthcare providers do NOT disclose or admit their mistakes to patients and their families. They are more concerned about protecting themselves from a medical malpractice lawsuit than they are about telling the family the truth about what happened. Every hospital has (or should have) a disclosure policy for medical errors and adverse events. Despite this, victims of medical malpractice hear a lot of noise and confusing explanations, but they actually do not get a lot of clear answers about what actually caused the bad outcome. If you are in this situation, be polite, but assertive. Keep asking “what happened” and “why”, and gather as much information as possible.
2. Take notes. It is important to take notes to remember who you spoke with, when you spoke with them, and what they told you. This information could turn out to be very important to you and your family in a medical malpractice case.
3. Take videos and pictures. When there is a serious medical error, it is important to document with videos and pictures the patient’s condition and injury as well as any important information that may be available in the patient’s room. Take videos and pictures of the patient to document the injuries, and take videos and pictures of anything that may provide helpful information about the situation such as the hospital room, medications that are running in an IV, wrist bands on the patient, and warning signs on the door.
4. Get an autopsy, if possible. When there is an unexpected death, it is very helpful to have an autopsy. An autopsy will help you and your attorney understand what happened and help you thwart any baseless excuses that the defendants may try to argue in a case. Sometimes the state (that is, the GBI) or the hospital will perform an autopsy on their own with the families’ permission. If they choose not to perform one, you have the option of getting a private autopsy, although it is expensive. If the state or hospital will not perform an autopsy and you cannot afford one, do not worry. We may still be able to prove your case. So do not hesitate to contact us so that your case can be carefully evaluated by an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer.
5. Request the medical records. You will need to get a copy of the (1) certified (2) complete (3) color (4) PDF-copy of the medical records. The electronic/PDF-copy of the medical records from a hospital should only cost you approximately $6.50. If you don’t specify that you want an electronic /PDF copy, the hospital may try to provide you a paper copy and charge you an expensive rate. So be sure to specifically ask for an electronic/PDF-copy of the medical records. Although a copy of the medical records from the patient’s portal, which is commonly referred to as MyChart can be helpful, it is not the same in substance or in form as the official, certified medical record. Please note that many hospitals now have online tools that can be used to easily request medical records with a copy of your driver’s license and/or the patient’s death certificate if they have passed away. Please be sure to request the “COMPLETE” or “ENTIRE” copy of the medical record–not the individual parts, summaries, or abstracts of the medical record. Sometimes the important information is in the details of the medical record.
6. Hire an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer with a proven track record. Medical malpractice cases are very difficult cases to win. Although many lawyers advertise for medical malpractice cases, many do not have the experience, expertise, or track record to handle these cases competently. Additionally, there are many out-of-state law firms that advertise here in Georgia so it is important that you hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who only practices here in Georgia who knows the laws, the local rules, the defense lawyers, the insurance company representatives, and the judges. If you hire an out-of-state lawyer for a Georgia medical malpractice case, you are making a mistake.