In most situations, healthcare professionals can be trusted to act in their patients’ best interests and provide reasonably diligent care. However, doctors, nurses, and medical specialists sometimes make mistakes and cause serious harm to patients through their reckless or careless behavior.
If you experienced severe health complications or injuries due to a healthcare provider’s negligence, you may need help from an experienced personal injury attorney to pursue compensation through civil litigation. Once retained, an Elsmere medical malpractice lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal processes and work to maximize your financial compensation.
Filing Requirements for Malpractice Claims
In the interest of minimizing the number of lawsuits with no legitimate basis, the Delaware civil court system enforces extra requirements that prospective plaintiffs must fulfill before they can file suit for medical malpractice. The main obstacle to this kind of claim is the mandatory submission of an affidavit of merit prior to a claim being heard.
Affidavit of Merit for Elsmere Malpractice Cases
According to Delaware Code Title 18 §6853, anyone who wants to file a malpractice claim against a medical professional must first draft an affidavit. This document details how the proposed defendant failed to meet the standard of care expected of their position, and that this failure directly led to the plaintiff suffering compensable losses.
Under Delaware Code Title 18 §6853, an affidavit of merit must also include the opinion, curriculum vitae, and signature of at least one expert witness. This person must be a comparable medical professional in the same field as the proposed defendant.
However, an affidavit of merit may not be required in situations involving:
- A foreign object being left in a patient’s body after surgery
- A fire or explosion during treatment stemming from a substance used in that treatment
- A surgeon performing a procedure on the wrong organ, limb, or patient
As a local medical malpractice attorney could explain in further detail, these circumstances may create a “rebuttable inference” that a patient’s injuries stemmed from negligence.
How Long Does a Malpractice Victim Have to File Suit?
Under Delaware Code Title 18 §6856(1), prospective plaintiffs usually have a maximum of two years after their injury occurred to file both an initial complaint and an affidavit of merit for a medical malpractice claim. However, this deadline may be extended to three years if the plaintiff reasonably could not have known about their injury for some time.
Additionally, a medical malpractice victim may delay the statutory deadline for their claim for up to 90 days by having their lawyer serve a “Notice of Intent to Investigate” to each prospective defendant. The deadline can also be delayed significantly if the case involves a newborn infant or child under six years of age who suffered harm due to a healthcare provider’s negligence.
Seek Help from an Elsmere Medical Malpractice Attorney
Whether malpractice occurs inside a hospital or during a routine checkup, a doctor’s negligence can have life-altering and potentially even fatal effects. Because of the high stakes in this kind of situation, it is recommended that you work with an experienced attorney when filing suit against a reckless or careless healthcare professional.
Assistance from a seasoned Elsmere medical malpractice lawyer could make a tremendous difference in your odds of success with your claim. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation about your situation.