Winning a medical malpractice lawsuit can be challenging for a number of reasons. In fact, plaintiffs only win about 25 percent of the time when their cases go to court. One thing that can improve the odds of getting the judge or jury to decide favorably in your case is to show that the defendant had a history of medical complaints or misconduct. Here are three places where you can gather information about your opponent that may be useful in your quest to get compensated for injuries you sustained through medical malpractice.
Anyone working in the medical field must adhere to a set of regulations that are designed to promote patient safety and privacy. These rules are enacted and enforced by state agencies, such as the Department of Health Services. Additionally, medical professionals must be licensed to practice, adding another layer of oversight. If the defendant has had problems in the past, any incidents or complaints will usually be on file with the appropriate state agency or licensing board.
For example, one Michigan physician who had been reported to both hospital and state administrators for having a high number of infections occur in patients after he treated them already had prior complaints regarding his conduct filed with the state in 2014, 2015, and 2016. A patient who was harmed by this doctor could point to those past complaints to establish a record of substandard care that may help them win their case.
Records held by government agencies are accessible by the public, and you can generally obtain them by submitting a request through the appropriate channels. However, it can take a while for the agency to fulfill your request, and you may need to push through a bit of red tape, so it's essential that you begin your research as soon as you know you will be suing for damages.
Another great way to find evidence of problematic behavior is to check whether the defendant has ever been involved in other lawsuits. Since any testimony and evidence introduced in court becomes accessible to the public, this can be a boon for your case. You can use the information to confirm a history of a poor standard of care or to find other victims that can corroborate your experience with the defendant, among other things.
The internet has made it much easier to look up court cases. Your state will typically have a publicly accessible database that you can use to search their records, though you may have to pay a fee to get copies of the case files. Your attorney can also use his or her credentials to search for cases using databases only available to lawyers.
Be sure to search in all the areas where the defendant has practiced or owns facilities. Sometimes people will relocate to different areas to gain a fresh start after landing in legal trouble.
Online Review Sites
These days you can find review sites for all types of products and services, and medical care is no exception. There are a number of doctor review sites that lets patients give their thoughts about the level of care they received from a particular practitioner. These sites can provide invaluable information about the type of care the defendant provides to the people they treat.
While it's easy to uncover these sites using a simple Google search, it's important to keep things in perspective. Online review sites are open to the public and prone to abuse. Additionally, you're only getting one (unverified) side of the story. Still, coupled with your other evidence, they can help establish a pattern of behavior if multiple people are saying the same things across a number of sites.
For more tips on locating complaints about a medical facility or practitioner or to learn more about medical malpractice law, contact a personal injury attorney.