A doctor’s relationship with their patient is bound by a contract of confidentiality that keeps the doctor from revealing sensitive information regarding the patient. They are bound by an ethical and legal duty not to disclose such information to any third party without the patient’s consent.
However, in certain cases, the doctor is liable to inform the relevant authorities when they are under contractual obligations, ethics, or the law. In complex medicolegal cases, medical evidence is carefully examined by a lawyer who specializes in medical law.
In this article, we will provide you with a guide that will help you navigate through the responsibilities of a medicolegal case.
What Are Medicolegal Cases?
Sometimes in the case of an injury or ailment, a doctor needs to involve law-enforcing agencies to fulfill a criminal responsibility for the case according to the country’s law. These cases are called medicolegal cases or MLC, and they are subjected to legal action. An MLC comprises medical jurisprudence and forensic medicine. Medical jurisprudence deals with the legal aspects of the medical practice of doctors. In comparison, forensic medicine deals with the medical aspects of law and medicolegal case management.
What Steps to Take for Medico-Legal Action?
A person who has sustained injuries due to hospital error or medical malpractice is entitled to legal action against the culprits. The first thing to do if you want to settle with the hospital in the face of legal action is to find a medical lawyer, which will help you handle the following aspects.
The backbone of legal action is thorough research that a lawyer conducts to review a medical claim. A medical claim is a bill provided by the hospital to the patient’s insurance providers. It articulates the detailed account of care administered to the patient. The medical claim includes a diagnosis, the entire medical procedure, medical supplies, and prescriptions given to the patient.
Documents, such as medical records, medical reports after admission, and forensic findings, are reviewed by the lawyer. Any receipts involving a medical lawsuit are important in this step. This helps the lawyer get a perspective of the negligence and injury caused by the healthcare staff.
The next important step for a lawyer is to advise their client on their legal rights during trial. A lawyer-client relationship is bound by confidentiality. According to medical jurisprudence, the client is duly be given information about what can be used with their consent and what rights they sustain during the trial. After that, they advise their client professionally on a specific course of action that they deem preferable considering the circumstances.
Protection of Evidence
Any hardcore evidence that the client possesses or the lawyer has access to should be strictly preserved. This evidence can include defective medicine, medical equipment, or faulty test reports. The sanctity of evidence is highly appreciated in courts and hence should remain intact.
Interpretation of Laws
Every country and region has a set of laws specific to that area. There can be amendments in the general law according to the medical practice and the region of MLC. A medical lawyer has to study and interpret the medical laws of the area, follow guidelines, and find a legal basis for the claims they are filing against the culprit.
How Do Medical Lawyers Use Expert Witnesses?
In the court of law, expert witnesses are people whose education, knowledge, and experience are of considerable value to a judge when making a legal verdict. In cases that are medicolegal in nature, it is imperative that a medical lawyer contact a medical expert for their professional opinion. Almost all medical malpractice lawsuits require testimony from a medical expert. They help establish that it was, in fact, the negligence of the healthcare staff that resulted in the injury or loss of the client.
Do I Need to Hire a Medical Lawyer?
If you have been charged with a medical lawsuit, you need a medical malpractice defense attorney or a medical lawyer. Your defense attorney will give you legal advice, guide you through the legal proceedings, and represent you in court. Meanwhile, if you or your family members have sustained an injury, you have two ways to take legal action. You can either opt for a personal injury lawsuit for which you will need to hire a personal injury lawyer to take civil legal action against the party at fault. The second way is to take a personal injury insurance claim to receive compensation for injuries and losses.