Law

How to Defend Yourself in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

A lot of healthcare professionals and institutions in Massachusetts need a Boston healthcare lawyer – especially considering the number of malpractice cases that occur in the state. According to research, there were around 62,000 medical errors per year in the state. As a result, related insurance claims that resulted from these errors totaled over $617 million.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be very stressful, both for the patient and their loved ones and for the medical professionals involved. When you are sued, you must know what steps to take. Defending yourself properly will involve hiring a good lawyer among other things. 

Whether you are already in this situation or you want to know what to do if you are ever sued, read this post we have written on the matter to be prepared.

Your panic is understandable – after all, this is not a simple incident that will go away overnight. You have been sued for medical malpractice, so it is normal to feel stressed. 

When one gets a malpractice complaint, it is always unexpected. You could be minding your business, and suddenly you get a phone call or email announcing that you have been sued. All of a sudden, it feels like the sky comes crashing down on you. You may be tempted to reach out to someone and do something about it. 

No matter what you feel in the heat of the moment, you should control your emotions. Make sure you do not have any unnecessary discussions regarding this situation with friends, staff members, or colleagues. If you do so, something you say may be used against you later. 

Try to calm down and, once you do, you are ready to move to the next step.

  • Reach Out to Your Legal Team

Now it is time to contact your legal team and discuss what your next steps should be. Ideally, all medical professionals should have a legal team that can help them in any situation, especially considering how common medical malpractice cases tend to be. 

But if you do not have a legal team yet, you should get one as soon as possible. Look for the best lawyers in your area and contact them. As a doctor, you are not trained in the law – therefore, you need a legal team that offers you advice on what to do and what not to do. 

  • Prepare the Deposition

Together with your legal team, you will start working on your deposition. Your lawyer will compile several reports, documents, records, and other things that can help support your case. 

On top of that, you will also have to take part in written discovery. This will happen when the attorney of the plaintiff will send your attorney a list of questions that you have to answer. To properly answer these questions, you should meet up with your lawyer.

You also have to tell your lawyer the things you know, respectively the medicine that is involved in this situation. 

  • Don’t Reach Out to the Plaintiff

One thing you may want to do after being sued is to reach out to the plaintiff to ask questions or negotiate a settlement. You should never do this, though. Do not try to contact the plaintiff. 

Doing so can only make your case look worse. It may even be considered intimidation of the plaintiff. 

Also, if they are the ones reaching out to you, do not answer their calls. Moreover, you should let the lawyer know if the plaintiff tries to talk to you.

  • Gather Information

Bear in mind that you will have to retrace your steps considering the lawsuit will look at your actions as a doctor. The judge will want to know whether you treated your patient properly as a competent medical professional would. 

Therefore, you will have to reconstruct the specific treatment you offered to the patient, but also the details you have relied on when offering medical care. 

You could gather documents such as:

  • your notes on the treatment of the patient
  • your patient’s medical records
  • the names of the other individuals who offered the patient treatments
  • a summary of the talks you have had with the other doctors who treated this patient, and so on. 

The Bottom Line

Defending yourself in a malpractice lawsuit can be difficult if you do not know the right steps to take. Make sure you hire a good lawyer and that you gather all the documents that can help prove your innocence.

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