If you believe the injuries you suffered were a result of medical malpractice and are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are some basic procedures you will have to follow. These cases tend to be quite complex, so it is advisable that you consult a seasoned medical malpractice attorney to help you navigate this often difficult process.
First, medical malpractice encompasses a wide range of incidents, though it is generally defined as medical treatment that falls below an accepted medical standard of care that resulted in harm. Therefore, it is possible for a patient to have received substandard care, but if it did not result in harm, medical malpractice does not exist.
Establishing a Standard of Care
The standard of care is essentially the level of care that any reasonable and prudent health care provider, with the same treatment and experience, would give in similar circumstances within the same community.
Establishing the standard of care will generally require an expert witness to testify on your behalf. This expert witness must be trained and experienced in the same field as the professional who treated you in order to effectively and accurately testify how the treatment fell below the standard and how the harm you suffered was directly related to it.
Affidavit of Merit
Missouri requires an affidavit of merit to be filed with the court within 90 days of filing the medical malpractice complaint. It must state that a qualified expert was consulted about your case, agreeing that the defendant was negligent and this behavior caused your injuries. If more than one defendant is involved, you will need a separate affidavit, stating his or her role in the causation of your injuries.
The affidavit of merit must be signed by either you or your attorney and must include the name, address, and qualifications of the expert witness. Failing to file an affidavit will result in a dismissal of your case.
In addition to requiring an affidavit of merit, Missouri also requires expert testimony to be given at trial. An article or treatise written by an expert cannot serve as a substitute for testimony, even if it was used to determine that the actions of the defendant fell below the standard of care.
St. Louis Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Doctors, nurses, and other medical providers are all obligated to follow the prevailing standard of care. When they fail to do so, accidents and injuries, many of which can be fatal or life-altering, are inflicted upon the patients who place their trust in them. You should not have to suffer in silence or pay for their mistakes.
At The Simon Law Firm, P.C., our injury lawyers have dedicated countless hours reviewing medical records, researching medical literature, and speaking with medical experts about potential claims. We will walk through the details and provide you with the information you need to get you through this difficult time.
Contact our office today at (314) 241-2929 to schedule a free consultation.