5 WAYS YOU CAN LEARN ABOUT YOUR DOCTOR'S LEGAL HISTORY
You may be shocked by exactly how common medical malpractice is. In fact, roughly 15% of all personal injury cases across the United States involve medical malpractice, with many personal injury law firms specializing in medical malpractice lawsuits. But many medical malpractice cases actually aren't pursued because people often feel as if they don't have the right to do so. We place a lot of trust in our doctors, and we assume that they are incapable of making serious mistakes. But unfortunately, it's all too common for doctors to do just that, and in those cases, they need to be held responsible.
Perhaps one of the most common types of medical malpractice is a misdiagnosis, though some doctors also make mistakes during surgery and others prescribe incorrect treatments. The more that you can tell your personal injury lawyer about what happened to you, and the more you can know about your doctor's history, the better. This is why we're looking into what you can do to research your doctor's malpractice history.
1. STATE MEDICAL BOARDS
It's important to understand how doctors relate to their state medical boards. Every physician is licensed by their state, which means that disciplinary issues are also handled by each state's medical board. This covers not only the suspension of licenses but the revocation of licenses. While each state licensing board has a different approach to disclosing the records surrounding the suspension or revocation of licenses, many states offer websites that patients can peruse to determine whether or not disciplinary action has been taken against a physician. Boards can also be contacted directly, with their contact information found through the Federation of State Medical Boards. Personal injury law firms can often handle contacting state medical boards for you if you have a case in progress.
2. STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
While state medical boards may be focused on doctors individually, the State Department of Health Services is a great source of information about hospitals. You or the law firm you're working with can contact the State Department of Health Services to look up complaints filed against a particular hospital. The State Department of Health Services will record complaints regarding unsafe conditions or improper care in particular. While medical malpractice lawsuits often target individual physicians, at times the real issue can be the hospital at large.
3. COURT RECORDS
If a physician or hospital has sustained a medical malpractice lawsuit in the past, there will likely be court records indicating such. The court in which the case has been filed must be identified; after that, the law firm representing your case can find the court records online in most cases. While not all court records may be available in every case, in most cases the evidence of a lawsuit being filed can be found fairly easily. But court records do not necessarily mean that a valid medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in the past; they may merely mean that one was filed at all.
4. THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF QUALITY ASSURANCE
While our attorneys may focus, understandably, more on state medical boards and court records, you may wish to look into physician grades as well. The National Committee of Quality Assurance is often used to grade physicians based on the quality of their care. They may very well reveal whether or not a doctor has been sued in the past.
5. HEALTH INSURANCE EVALUATIONS
Lawyers and clients alike may look into the health insurance evaluations of physicians for insight as to their records. The work history of physicians can be revealed through their health insurance evaluations. Gaps in employment or terminations could suggest that the physicians in question have something questionable in their work histories.
Understand that when you speak with a lawyer about your medical malpractice case, you don't need to know everything. But knowing more can help them identify whether or not you have a valid case. A qualified attorney can take it from there, and help you defend your rights.