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How long do I
have to file a malpractice claim?
A claim for malpractice becomes non-actionable if it has not been filed in court within three years after it accrues. A claim accrues when the victim of malpractice knows or should know of the potential claim. For example, a negligence claim for injury in a car accident accrues on the date of the accident because the victim is aware of injury and the possibility that someone's negligence caused it. In a malpractice case the date of accrual is less clear and is open to dispute because the victim may not know of the misconduct when it happens, but only when things turn badly later. To avoid litigation over what the accrual date should be and the possibility of a claim dismissal, it is best to evaluate the potential malpractice claim early and, if possible, to file suit within three years of the misconduct regardless of accrual date.
What are some common types of malpractice?
Malpractice is conduct by a professional in service to a patient or client that fails to meet the standard of care for the task or service in question. If that conduct causes harm, the professional may be liable to pay compensatory damages. Doctors, lawyers, psychologists, social workers, accountants, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists and social workers are some of the professionals subject to liability for malpractice.
What should I do if I think I am the victim of medical malpractice?
Promptly obtain your medical records and consult an attorney with medical malpractice experience.
What kind of compensation can I expect to receive?
There is no reliable formula for gauging the potential value of a claim. A lot of variables bear on whether you receive compensation, and if so how much. Many of these, such as pain and suffering, and overall impact of an injury on a person's life, are not easily quantified. If the case does not settle and the decision on valuation is made by a jury after trial, the range of possible outcomes is very broad. A lawyer may advise you of the value range of the recovery she or he would hope to achieve, but should do so only after careful review. You must also understand the lawyer's fee structure and estimate of case expenses in order to determine, for a given amount recovered, how much you would actually receive. Lastly, you should be aware that compensation for some of the consequences of injury (lost income is just one example) are taxable as income.
*These answers do not constitute legal advice and are written for general information purposes only. Individuals should consult with a lawyer for specific legal advice.