What Information Do I Need to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Medical malpractice is arguably the most complicated type of claim in personal injury law. Many states make it difficult for injured victims (plaintiffs) to recover financial compensation from hospitals and health care providers out of a desire to discourage frivolous claims and protect medical providers from financial duress. Find out what information you need to file a medical malpractice claim in Kansas.
Facts and Evidence About the Incident
First, gather as much information as you can about the alleged act of medical malpractice. You will be asked by many parties, many times, to recount what happened to you in as much detail as possible. Write down exactly what you remember early on, while it is all still fresh in your mind, to help you or your lawyer piece together a timeline of events.
Collect any documents or information that could be used as evidence during your medical malpractice lawsuit. This may include photographs, videos, eyewitness statements and letters from your doctor. It may also include an injury journal or your own testimony as to what happened and how you were affected.
Copies of Your Medical Records
Your medical records will play an important role in a medical malpractice lawsuit. You will need to obtain copies of all relevant medical records and documents to establish elements such as your state of health before the act of malpractice and how you felt after. If you hire a medical malpractice attorney, you can sign a release waiver to allow your attorney to obtain copies of your medical records for you. Before signing a Medical Authorization Release Form given to you by the defendant’s attorney, however, bring it to a lawyer to make sure it does not allow blanket access to your full medical history. This is a tactic often used to blame a condition on a claimant’s pre-existing injury.
In addition to medical records, photographs of the injury that you suffered due to medical malpractice can provide strong evidence of your losses. If you suffered an injury or illness with outward signs, such as scarring from a surgeon making an incision in the wrong place, take photos of your injury as it heals. Having photographs and video footage documenting your injury and recovery journey can show a jury how much pain and suffering you endured because of the physician’s mistake.
Medical Expert Testimony
Many states require plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases to obtain statements, testimony or signed affidavits from experts in a relevant medical field. Although Kansas does not have an affidavit of merit requirement, there is something called a medical screening panel. You may have to go through a screening panel if the defendant requests it, or you may choose to request the panel yourself as the claimant.
A medical screening panel consists of a health care provider selected by the plaintiff, one by the defendant and one selected by both sides. It also has an unbiased attorney who is selected by the courts. The panel will listen to the key facts of your case to determine if your injuries were caused by the defendant’s medical malpractice. If your lawsuit involves a medical screening panel, you will need to hire a qualified medical expert to speak on your behalf.
Finally, you will need at least some basic information about how Kansas deals with medical malpractice claims. You or your attorney must obtain the required paperwork to submit a lawsuit in your county. You must also understand and abide by Kansas’ deadline, known as the statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of your injury or injury discovery (four years maximum). Hiring a medical malpractice attorney in Kansas City from the start of your claim can make it easier to collect and submit all of the required information.