A medical mistake can be devastating for everyone involved. You have certain rights if you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical professional’s carelessness or neglect. There are time limits and constraints, and you have to file within a certain amount of time in order for the lawsuit to be considered valid. It’s essential to understand the medical malpractice process in Oregon to ensure you get the relief you and your family need and deserve.
Before you decide to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are a few things to keep in mind. This is a complex and time-consuming process: medical records will be analyzed in-depth, expert witnesses may need to be contacted and hired, and all of this must be done within the standards established in Oregon.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Oregon
Every state establishes its own rules and regulations to follow in the event of a medical injury. In Oregon, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits statesthat the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or when knowledge of the injury should have been discovered. Once two years have passed, you no longer have the right to commence action.
There is an exception to this particular time limit, however. If the defendant uses fraud, deceit, or misleading representation to hide the malpractice, the clock starts ticking once the fraud is uncovered, rather than the date of injury or knowledge of injury.
Last but not least, if the injured individual is under the age of 18 or has a “disabling mental condition that bars the person from comprehending rights that the person is otherwise bound to know,” according to Oregon Revised Statutes section 12.160, the clock is paused for up to five years, or one year after the person turns 18 or the disabling mental condition ceases to exist.
In most cases, if you attempt to file a lawsuit after the allowed timeframe, your lawsuit will be contested. The doctor or medical facility will seek to dismiss the case, and without extenuating circumstances, the judge will most likely grant that request.
What Is Considered a Medical Mistake?
Before you move into the medical malpractice process and file a lawsuit in Oregon, it’s important to educate yourself as much as you possibly can.
Currently, as many as 251,000 deaths occur annually in the United States from medical malpractice, making it the third leading cause of death. Error rates are significantly higher in the US than in other Western societies, such as Australia, Canada, or the United Kingdom.
Medical mistakes occur in myriad ways:
- Failure to diagnose
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Prescription medication errors
- Obstetrical errors
Where Do You Start?
Most healthcare providers swear an oath to provide their patients with the highest level of care, but sometimes, things can go gravely wrong. If you or a loved one has been injured by poor medical care, misdiagnosis, or medical errors that have resulted in injury, you may be entitled to medical malpractice recovery.
There will be many steps in the process, and some of the first steps include:
Contacting the Medical Professionals and Organizations Involved
One of the first steps is to return to the medical professionals or organizations involved in the case, with the end goal of determining what went wrong and if the injury or illness is something that can be remedied. In most cases, most medical professionals are willing to perform any necessary services to reach a satisfactory solution.
Contact the Medical Licensing Board
If you can’t reach a solution by working with the professionals involved in the case, escalating it to the medical licensing board in your state can add another layer of resolution. While the licensing board can’t force monetary compensation for you, it can start disciplinary actions and may be able to provide further guidance and direction.
Review Claim Details
Filing a claim means you’ll need thorough documentation in place. Do you have appropriate files and medical information? Are you within the limits of the statute of limitations? What other resources are available for you to corroborate your story? The more support you gain before you move forward, the easier the process may be.
Get Medical Assessments
Some states will require patients to file a Certificate of Merit to help determine if the injuries you or your loved one suffered resulted from a medical practitioner’s negligence. While Oregon and Washington don’t currently require it, it can be included within your case if you have backup data. The attorney you hire will file it with the necessary paperwork to help further prove harm.
Consider Settling Out of Court
Medical malpractice cases can be costly, dragging on for months or even years. This can be a tedious process. Because medical malpractice insurance companies reject many cases, it may be in your best interest to settle out of court. This is where working with a lawyer well-versed in medical malpractice can help you understand the process and help you make an informed decision.
Hiring a Lawyer
Finding the right lawyer can be a difficult decision. It’s essential to do your research early, find someone who will fully represent your interests, and provide guidance on your path to recovery. You should find a lawyer that you can trust, one that you feel comfortable with, and one that comes well-recommended.
If you’re in Oregon and have been medically injured, understanding the medical malpractice process can ensure your path to restitution. With these few steps in mind, you can learn more about what you’ll experience if you decide to move forward.
Whether you’re just beginning the medical malpractice process in Oregon or just have a few questions about your case, sound legal advice is the best place to start. Contact us at Warren Allen today and let our legal experts answer your questions.