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What should you do if you have a medical malpractice case?

You believe you have a medical malpractice case against a doctor who worked with you, causing you some sort of injury -- or making your existing condition worse -- through negligence. You want compensation for the pain and suffering you've had to endure and your costs. What now?

First off, it may be wise to get in touch with the doctor or other medical professional whom you believe to be responsible. Tell him or her what the issue is and that you're planning to sue.

Next, talk to the licensing board that gave the doctor his or her license. They can help you moving forward and warn the doctor. This also allows you to show in court that you reported the problem.

After that, you must know what the statute of limitations is to file your claim. This typically starts when the injury occurred or when it was discovered. Waiting too long can make it impossible to file your lawsuit, even if you would have won.

In California, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is just one year from the time you discovered the problem or when you reasonably should have done so. You may also be given three years from the exact day on which the injury happened. The court uses whichever date is earlier.

If you then decide to move forward with your case, be sure you know what legal options you have. The compensation you can seek varies from one case to the next, but it could cover things like a disability, disfigurement, lost wages, additional medical costs, and much more.

Source: FindLaw, "First Steps in a Medical Malpractice," accessed Nov. 30, 2016

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