When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, medical malpractice cases are one of the most common nationwide. These cases can have a significant effect on patients — physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.
We all know that medical malpractice exists when there is a violation of the standard of care, an injury was caused by negligence, and the injury resulted in substantial damages. Medical malpractice can come in many forms, from unnecessary surgeries and poor follow up to misdiagnosis and premature discharge. Defending these cases means having a firm grasp on medical documentation involved in the injury.
The difficulty arises when we look at how medical professionals convey information to patients, as many times, side effects or symptoms are communicated as normal and projected to fade with time. So, patients waste precious time failing to consult an attorney when effects get worse, and the statute of limitations starts the clock — leading to complications in case after case.
So, by the time personal injury attorneys get their hands on a patient’s case, a substantial amount of time has gone by, and the investigation period is extremely limited. Law firms face challenges every day, especially when it comes to protected health info. Overworked legal staff may end up putting medical record retrieval on the backburner or failing to continuously follow up, which is a crucial part of receiving documentation fast. We’ve laid out some tips for busy legal teams handling record retrieval before, and today we’re going to focus on medical malpractice cases.
In other words, time is not on the lawyer’s side.
Understanding Medical Malpractice
Law firms know how difficult these cases can be — along with how time-sensitive information becomes during this time. Let’s take a look at some of the more common types of medical malpractice so that we can better understand the advantages of outsourcing medical record retrieval.
Delayed or Incorrect Diagnosis
Late detection of underlying diseases, leading to progression that could have been treated if diagnosed earlier, is one of the many unfortunate areas of medical malpractice. An incorrect diagnosis that leads to either the lack of treatment or the wrong treatment is another form of medical malpractice.
Superfluous Treatment or Procedures
It’s not uncommon for complex surgeries, treatments, or medical procedures to be utilized even when there’s a far simpler method that could have treated or cured the ailment. Whether it’s far more invasive, expensive, or simply unwanted — this too can be a form of medical malpractice.
Surgeries involve incredible training, talent, and skill — even the smallest mistakes or errors can have tragic effects. Although uncommon, it’s not unheard of for site surgeries to be mistaken, leading to operations or even amputations on the wrong area of the body.
Administering anesthesia also has little room for error, and negligence during this process can have cataclysmic effects on a patient. A patient’s medical history, diagnosis, and records help guide anesthesiologists — and without proper review, serious injury, or even death can occur.
Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are all too common, especially following medical operations. If the provider fails to ensure that proper care is taken post-operation, serious infection or reoccurrence can transpire and may be considered medical malpractice.
What’s Needed to Establish Medical Malpractice
When it comes to establishing a medical malpractice case, four criteria must be met. These four elements are what will lay the groundwork for a medical malpractice case.
- A duty of care was established to the particular patient
- A breach occurred with the duty of care
- An injury was caused by said breach
- Damages resulted from the injury
It’s up to the patient to establish fault: personal injury or medical malpractice attorneys will look for evidence that proves that the hospital, doctor, or medical professional is indeed at fault.
Depending on the nature of the procedure, injuries, negligence, etc. — what medical records are needed may differ. Requesting and managing these crucial documents requires intensive attention to detail and diligence — as every moment counts with malpractice cases.
We’ve covered which medical records are crucial for a personal injury case before, but we’ll list some here that will play an important role in a medical malpractice case as well.
- Initial exam information
- Diagnostic tests
- Medical procedures
- Doctor’s written notes
- Prognosis information
- Prescriptions (short + long-term)
- Pre-existing conditions (may have been aggravated during the incident
- Medical-related expenses
- Insurance documentation
- Loss of potential income from injury
Outsource Today and Help Your Firm
Law firms and attorneys nationwide need every minute on their side. Speeding up processes and removing errors from important processes that otherwise get pushed aside can have a significant impact on the success of a firm. This is especially true for medical malpractice cases that rely on speedy and accurate medical records to make a case.
Outsourcing to a dedicated medical record retrieval team that specializes in retrieval for legal teams is a must — and will ultimately save you time and money in the long run. Discovering the right retrieval service can make a real difference for your law firm. Don’t let in-house hurdles or stoppages keep your practice from thriving, especially when it comes to medical malpractice cases.
American Retrieval saves you money by keeping costs low at the most competitive pricing in the industry. This white paper explains how other companies charge hidden, unexpected fees: Insider’s Guide to Record Retrieval Services. We include everything in one low flat rate price — making it easier for your law firm to manage medical malpractice caseloads.