An accusation of medical malpractice can have a damaging impact on one's career. However, as noted in an earlier post, defenses are available that can help those who face these accusations.
In addition to building a strong defense, it is also important to know some of the common issues that arise when fighting these claims. Three of the more common examples include:
- Failure to report
- Record issues
- Lack of cooperation
Avoiding these issues can help to better ensure a strong defense.
Failure to report
All medical providers should have medical malpractice insurance coverage. Upon receipt and/or service of any medical malpractice lawsuit, a medical provider must promptly notify and report the lawsuit to their medical malpractice insurance carrier. This will ensure the provider receives the applicable malpractice coverage, as well as the assignment of defense counsel. Ignoring a lawsuit is not in the medical provider's best interest and can be detrimental to the defense of the lawsuit. In fact, prompt and timely notification to the malpractice carrier not only facilitates the provider's rights under their insurance policy, but also assists with deadlines associated with defending the medical provider during the litigation.
Failure to follow medical record procedures
Every practice should have a standard method of medical record documentation. It is important to follow these documentation methods that are customary with your practice. It is also important to never alter or add to patient records after a medical malpractice claim. This can lead to allegations of fraud, which can come with severe penalties.
Lack of cooperation in the defense of a medical malpractice claim
Physicians are extremely busy. Patients rely on them every hour of every day. Although time is limited, it is important to invest some time and effort into the case. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will reduce the amount of time needed to invest in the case, but some cooperation is still required. Talk to the attorney representing your interests and provide any requested information or documentation. If you cannot speak with the attorney at the requested time, make an effort to call back or otherwise connect promptly. An attorney cannot build a strong case without cooperation.