New medical practitioners take the Hippocratic Oath, pledging to do no harm to their patients. As some of us find out the hard way, however, medical professionals sometimes do more harm than good. Medical malpractice happens more frequently than you might expect. If it has happened to you, you have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Before you decide to file, the following information might assist you in locating a lawyer and building your case.

Why should I sue for medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice cases happen all the time, yet a 2012 study found that only 14% of treatment mistakes made in cases with Medicare patients were only reported by hospitals. Whether you or a loved one have experienced a misdiagnosis, delay in diagnosis, medication or anesthesia errors, injuries during childbirth, or errors during surgery or negligence in post-operational care, you are entitled to claim damages.

Chances are that, if you have endured some form of medical malpractice, you have incurred physical and/or mental damages (or emotional distress) as well as excess medical fees in attempting to "right" the wrongs of medical negligence. Unfortunately, if a practitioner has committed negligence in caring for you, they might have potentially done so to other patients. Although it is intimidating, you have the right to advocate for your health and well-being.

How do I sue?

The first step you should take is to contact a lawyer. If you live in the Philadelphia area and are a victim of medical malpractice, you should consider contacting a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer to learn about medical malpractice laws specific to the state of Pennsylvania. Laws regarding medical malpractice tend to vary by state. For example, in Pennsylvania, there is a statute of limitations of two years for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit for most situations and seven years for certain situations. There is no statute of limitations for a child under the age of 20 or if a foreign object was left in a patient during a procedure. There are no caps on non-economic or compensatory damages.

Why should I hire a lawyer?

Your lawyer can assist you in gathering medical records, getting a certification of merit (a written statement from a medical expert claiming there is reasonable evidence of malpractice), filing a medical malpractice complaint, and getting you through to the dispersion of your final award or settlement. A lawyer can ease you through this often complex and stressful process by informing you of your rights and options and advocating for you before the judge.

How long will the process take?

This depends on a number of factors. Out-of-court settlements are usually more quickly and easily reached. Medical malpractice cases tend to go to trial if severe damages have been done. If you have a serious injury or if the case is highly complicated, it could take months or, in extreme cases, a few years to reach a settlement with the defendant.

Medical malpractice, even in nonlethal cases, should always be taken seriously. As a patient, you deserve the best quality care possible. If you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice, do not let the health care system or the legal process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit intimidate or dissuade you. Contact a local medical malpractice lawyer to inquire about how they can help you reach a settlement.

Author's Bio: 

Gaurav Kumar has been a blogger and digital marketer, one of the fastest growing custom design crowdsourcing platforms. Over the years, he has been helping small businesses and startups improve website design and SEO strategy, content marketing and user experience.You can engage with him on Twitter here @digitalmid.