In November of 2011 I fell and injured my knee. I went to an orthopedic doctor and he said he thought my patellar tendon was torn. He wanted me to have surgery the next morning. I felt as if the surgery was rushed and asked about testing first, but he said it was not necessary. I had the surgery the next week.
In January, I could not bend or move my leg. It was worse off and I discovered there were four anchor screws in my leg after seeing my own x-ray (I was never told about this). I could not get answers as to why this was done nor any explanation from my doctor as to what was wrong. He suggested a manipulation/scope for poor range of motion and scar tissue.
This operation failed, and by mid February – March I was already asking questions, with no answers. Nobody in his office would speak to me and explain to me what was wrong. I can no longer run, squat, stoop, kneel, put my own sock/shoe on… and I am only 26.
I was told by this doctor that “I would just be like this for the rest of my life”. After he failed to try and find out what was wrong, something did not seem right to me, so I sought a second opinion from a medical clinic. I paid out of my own pocket to travel there to see a different doctor.
After many tests and a two hour talk with two physicians I was told that the repair is too tight and my knee cap is entirely in the wrong position. I was told quite honestly by one of the doctors, “I don’t know why you’re sitting here and not in an attorney’s office. I can not believe you were left this way, and honestly wonder if you needed this invasive of a surgery. There were NO tests done before hand?”
I am frustrated and just want to get back to my normal life of working and being an active mom and fiance. My insurance coverage ends this Saturday. I feel as if this doctor knows what he did was wrong, and thinks he can just get me out the door with no way of fixing it and no way of proving malpractice. Does this qualify as a medical malpractice case? Is there anything I can do? I don’t want to be left this way. Thank you.
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Christina (Elgin, SC)
From the facts you present it appears you may very well have a strong medical malpractice case. The second and third opinions seem to clearly support your postulation of malpractice.
If you want to pursue a claim for medical malpractice do not attempt to represent yourself. There are those personal injury cases in which self-representation is permissible… medical malpractice is definitely not one of them.
There are many types of personal injury attorneys. You want to find not only a good one, but one who has substantial and successful experience in medical malpractice cases. You don’t want to make the same mistake you made with the first doctor. This time you need to seek several opinions from several qualified medical malpractice attorneys.
The good news is you can be confident none of the legal opinions you seek will cost any money. Most personal injury attorneys will not charge for an initial office consultation. One of the ways to find the right attorney is to contact the local State Bar in your county and ask for a list of personal injury attorneys. Then ask around.
The Internet is also an excellent referral source. Of course each attorney will put their best foot forward and tout their many accomplishments. There is nothing wrong with that and you really wouldn’t expect anything less.
Many of the attorneys will list the cases they successfully tried. Look for the ones whose cases included substantial jury awards or settlements. Your case is substantial enough to garner the attention of some of the better attorneys. Because the advance costs of preparing a medical malpractice case can be astronomical, be sure to find an attorney with enough capital to sustain the case.
Then start the interview process. Don’t rush. The Statute of Limitations, or “time period” in which you have to settle your case or file a lawsuit in South Carolina is three (3) years. As long as the doctor who performed the initial surgery had a viable medical malpractice insurance policy at the time of the surgery, you won’t have to be concerned with whether the doctor’s policy lapsed since the surgery.
Because your case is a “contingency” one you won’t have to pay any money until such time as your case is settled or won at trial.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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