Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. They result in over 250,000 deaths and even more injuries every year. Reasons for medical malpractice claims vary from surgical mistakes to incorrect diagnoses.
Trusting your health and life to a doctor who has a history of medical malpractice may be unreasonable. That’s why many patients prefer to learn about the doctor’s background when considering surgery or other serious manipulations. If a healthcare provider had malpractice claims filed against them, discovering this information is complicated but possible.
Check with the State Medical Board
To receive permission to practice medicine, each healthcare provider needs to be licensed by their state’s medical board. Information about these licenses is a public record.
- Alabama State Medical Board
- Arkansas State Medical Board
- Mississippi State Medical Board
- Louisiana State Medical Board
By searching the state medical board’s website, you can find out about disciplinary actions taken against the doctor in question. You can also take advantage of DocInfo which has information provided by 70 state medical and osteopathic boards. Besides extensive data about licensed medical practitioners, the website also contains information about disciplinary actions.
While direct information about medical malpractice claims may be confidential in some states, you can learn if the doctor was punished for their actions. This means that you can find out whether the healthcare professional has ever lost a malpractice lawsuit. Usually, you can usually get this information for free; however, some medical boards charge a fee of around $20 – $30 for a one-time check.
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Go Through the Court Records
Local court records should have information about malpractice lawsuits against your doctor or the hospital they work in. In many states, these records are available online. All you need to know is your doctor’s name, last name, and the theoretical location of the malpractice incident.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are public records. If you can’t find free information online, you can go to the local courthouse and search for records there.
In some cases, malpractice lawsuits make it into the news. Others appear on local websites. Searching the web directly may uncover information that doesn’t make it into the public records.
Official online public records don’t always contain information about malpractice claims that were settled out of court. Meanwhile, a simple Google search can provide the desired information. It can also help you find informal blog posts or forum discussions with patient stories.
Browse Review Sites
When you are choosing a doctor, it’s useful to read online reviews. Besides personal opinions about the healthcare provider, you could find information about lawsuits. Take the time to read as many reviews about your candidate as possible.
Review websites to consider include:
When a patient suffers from a doctor’s error, they (or their loved ones) are highly likely to share their story. Many doctors follow their online profiles on review websites and leave replies. Their answers can also help you gain insight into the medical professional’s history.
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While this may not always work in large cities, asking friends, acquaintances, and co-workers about a doctor can be highly useful. You can learn about medical malpractice cases that never made it to court or were dropped halfway through. Even the smallest piece of information can help you make a decision.
Remember, choosing a doctor is your responsibility. The time you spend researching their background is an investment in your health.
I Found a Record: Now What?
In your search for the doctor’s history, you can find a variety of suspicious records. Some of them can be disciplinary actions. Others demonstrate the existence of a claim. Does this mean you should drop the doctor?
If you have many candidates to choose from, a suspicious record may be a reason to move on. However, if the doctor is a perfect choice for your problem, you might want to dig deeper.
Doctors are sued for malpractice all the time. It doesn’t mean that they’ve committed an error. Many malpractice lawsuits are dropped due to the lack of evidence or absence of negligence. Unless you find records that demonstrate a medical malpractice conviction, you can’t be sure that your doctor is negligent.
Even if you don’t find any records of malpractice lawsuits, consider looking at disciplinary actions. If your doctor of choice has been disciplined more than one time (even if it wasn’t for a medical error), a pattern should raise a red flag.
Common Reasons for Medical Lawsuits
Serious mistakes such as surgical errors and misdiagnosis are hardly the only basis for medical lawsuits. Besides being sued for malpractice, your doctor could face a claim for:
- Being impolite to the patient
- Poor communication with the patient
- Improper record-keeping
- Poor patient monitoring
These negligent actions could lead to serious consequences, including fatal outcomes.
How to Know When to Ask for Help
If you are trying to find a doctor’s malpractice record to strengthen your medical malpractice case, consider contacting a medical malpractice attorney.
Medical malpractice cases can be complicated, time-consuming, and frustrating. With an army of attorneys on the doctor’s side, unrepresented victims rarely get fair compensation.
Even if the doctor is a repeat offender, it doesn’t mean that your case is straightforward. You would still need to conduct an investigation, collect evidence, prove negligence, and argue your case in front of the judge and jury.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
The legal team from Morris Bart has helped hundreds of clients across four states get the money they deserve. If you need help building a strong medical malpractice case, contact our medical malpractice team at any convenient time.
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