What Information Do I Need Before Speaking with a Medical Malpractice Attorney?

What Information Do I Nee…

One of the most painful things a medical malpractice attorney has to tell a client is that they have a good case, but that it’s too late to file a claim, because the statute of limitations has expired. You have only a limited amount of time to file a claim. Once that time is up, no matter how strong your case is, a court will not hear it. For many people, that means they are left to bear the lifelong expenses caused by their injury without help.

Why on earth would anybody delay filing a claim if they were injured, especially if they suspect medical malpractice? There are a number of reasons. If the injury was serious, simply dealing with their pain and recovery may take all their energy and resources for a while. Some people are unsure whether they have a medical malpractice case. Others decide to wait in the hopes that the problem will resolve itself. Some people don’t want to cause trouble for their doctor. And many people delay talking to a medical malpractice attorney because they feel they don’t have the right evidence.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Our clients tend to be thoughtful people who don’t want to waste our time. They expect us to be prepared for our meetings, and they try to offer us the same courtesy. While we appreciate that consideration, we would much prefer that our clients contact us as soon as they even suspect they have a case, even if they have little information aside from their own story of their experience.

Why? Well, first of all, when you contact our office, we can tell you what we need you to bring with you. There’s no need for you to guess; we have been doing this for a while, and we want to make the process easy on you. Second, while medical malpractice cases are complex and typically involve lots of documents and other evidence, you don’t need to have all of that material in hand before you ever consult an attorney. Part of what we do for our clients is lift the burden of building a case from their shoulders. If you have been injured, you have enough to worry about, and your focus should be on your own healing.

That said, there is certain information that might be helpful to us in evaluating your case.

Information to Provide Your Medical Malpractice Attorney

Here are some of the documents a medical malpractice attorney will need to build your case against the medical provider who injured you:

Medical Records

Your attorney will want to carefully review your medical records: not only those from the provider you believe injured you, but records from doctors and providers who treated you before and afterward. Records of treatment prior to your injury may show that the treatment administered was not right for your needs or that you had a higher level of function than after your injury. Records of treatment following your injury can show what additional care your injury caused you to need.

Hospital Invoices and Medical Bills

If you needed additional treatment to treat or correct your injury from medical malpractice, your medical bills will speak to the damages you suffered. For instance, if you underwent surgery and the surgeon carelessly injured a nerve that limited your mobility, you might need additional surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, medication, and mobility aids. The cost of those things will be relevant to your medical malpractice case.

Proof of Lost Wages

For many people, one of the hardest things about an injury from medical malpractice is that it limits their ability to work as they did before their injury. If their injury is permanent, lost wages over the rest of what would have been their working years can be significant. Therefore, being able to prove what you earned before your injury is important.

Communications from Your Doctor or Hospital (or Their Representatives)

Often, when a medical provider knows they did something that puts them at risk of liability, they reach out to the injured party to try to limit liability. Sometimes that communication is a settlement offer; the hope is that if you sign quickly, you will waive the right to sue. Early settlement offers may sound generous, but you should never accept one without speaking to an attorney. Bring all communications from your medical providers to a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

Prescriptions

Some injuries are caused by medications, such as when a doctor prescribes an incorrect dosage or a pharmacist mistakenly gives a patient a medication with a similar name to that prescribed.

A List of Your Questions

You may have experienced the phenomenon in which you go to the doctor’s office and completely forget to tell her about one of your significant concerns. The same thing can happen when you consult with an attorney. When you come to our office, we want to make sure you leave with all the answers you need, so far as that is in our power. Accordingly, we encourage you to make a list of all the questions you have for us so you don’t forget to ask something.

Remember: you don’t have to have all your ducks in a row in order to consult a medical malpractice attorney. The earlier you connect with an attorney, the better they can help with your case. If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, please contact Huegli Fraser to schedule a consultation.

Blog Disclaimer

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent medical malpractice attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.