Learning that you suffered avoidable harm from an injury or illness due to a medical professional’s negligence is a uniquely devastating experience. That is especially true if your condition has worsened to the point of having debilitating or life-threatening consequences. Unfortunately, successfully filing suit against a reckless or careless healthcare provider is a uniquely complicated challenge, no matter what type of misconduct specifically led to the damages you sustained.

Understanding the initial steps to take in an Albany medical malpractice case can be key to more effectively protecting your rights and pursuing the restitution you need. Here are a few actions that every potential plaintiff should take prior to filing suit, all of which a medical malpractice attorney could explain in more detail during a confidential consultation.

Contacting the Defendant and/or State Licensing Boards

Contrary to what many people might expect, it is not always best to immediately proceed with litigation after an instance of medical malpractice causes a patient to suffer harm. Instead, it is often beneficial for a person to get in touch directly with the doctor, nurse, or specialist responsible for injuring them in order to discuss what happened and how it could be proactively addressed. Medical providers who cause mild or moderate harm through small mistakes are often willing to correct a patient’s condition and/or work with them to bring them back to full health without the patient paying a cent for the additional treatment.

In more severe situations, it may be necessary to reach out to the New York State Board for Medicine and/or the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct, which are the governmental bodies responsible for, respectively, licensing and disciplining healthcare providers in Albany. Aside from issuing warnings and potentially imposing sanctions on reckless or careless doctors, these entities could also provide further guidance to injured individuals on their options for resolving their case in a positive way.

Obtaining a “Certificate of Merit”

Another important initial step towards filing a medical malpractice case in Albany is obtaining something called a “certificate of merit.” This is essentially an affirmation from a licensed medical professional with relevant qualifications that says a malpractice plaintiff has valid grounds to file suit over the subpar treatment they received from another medical professional.

Under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules § 3012-A, prospective malpractice litigants must submit this certificate in writing either alongside their lawsuit or within 90 days of filing that initial complaint. Furthermore, the submitted document must affirm that the patient and their malpractice attorney consulted with the requisite medical professional(s) and that said professional(s) agreed they had a reasonable basis for filing suit, or that they made a minimum of three good-faith efforts to comply with this requirement but could not do so before the applicable deadline.

Speaking with a Medical Malpractice Attorney About a Potential Claim in Albany

Pursuing civil compensation for injuries caused by medical malpractice is a multi-step process that can take months to completely resolve in even the best-case scenarios. However, failing to take the appropriate initial steps when filing a medical malpractice case in Albany could set your claim up for failure before it ever gets close to a courtroom.

Guidance from a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer can be crucial to effectively seeking restitution from start to finish of your claim. Call today to learn more.