Rules when you sue a healthcare provider

There are special rules if you are suing a hospital, doctor, chiropractor, dentist, or other healthcare provider for injuries you experienced because of something they did or didn't do. This is called medical malpractice.

Let the provider know you plan to sue

Before you can sue you must let them know in writing at least 90 days before you sue (called giving "notice").

Your notice must tell them:

  • The legal reason you're suing
  • What your injuries are
  • What losses you have

There is not a court form to use. You must serve the notice on the provider following specific rules.

Find an expert witness

If you're suing about the care or treatment you received, you almost always need an expert witness.

You will need to prove in court that what the healthcare provider did in your case did not meet the quality that providers like them should deliver. This is called the standard of care.

You need an expert to say what the standards are, that what your healthcare provider did didn't meet those standards, and that caused your injury.

Expert witnesses are usually very expensive. If you win your case, you only get these fees back if the judge orders it.

Talk to a lawyer about other things you may be able sue for that are related to your injuries, like mental health problems you now have or lost pay. These additional things can add up.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are usually very complicated. 

You should not start this kind of case without talking to a lawyer. 

Even though a lawyer can't represent you in a court, you can ask one for advice about how to get ready for your small claims case.
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