How to file a complaint against a doctor

Understand the distinction between a legal complaint and medical malpractice.

It’s time to make a formal complaint when a doctor’s or medical provider’s actions hurt your health, are risky, or are deceitful. Patients should be aware of when to take a complaint against a doctor to court in addition to how to register an administrative complaint against them.

When should you complain about a Doctor?

A physician who delivers substandard care subjects him or herself to a formal complaint. Such legitimate complaints include but are not limited to:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Careless treatment that causes you harm
  • An unusual delay in treatment
  • Under- or overprescribing medication
  • Giving you the wrong medication
  • Working under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Practicing without a license
  • Altering records 

How to complain about a doctor

The initial step in taking disciplinary action against a doctor is typically to file a complaint with your state’s medical board. When the board receives complaints against doctors, it enters them into a system, albeit the specifics vary by state. The board then examines complaints or, if necessary, sends them to another entity. The medical board may request medical records. If you file a complaint against a physician, the medical board won’t reveal your identity.

When a complaint becomes a medical malpractice case

You could have cause to launch a medical malpractice case if the complaint is serious. When a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare provider hurts a patient due to mistakes in diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare, this is known as malpractice.

A doctor must have broken a legally recognized standard of care for a medical malpractice claim to be considered legitimate. The patient must establish that the damage would not have occurred but for the doctor’s carelessness. Additionally, there must have been severe harm brought on by the injuries, such as exorbitant medical expenses, lost income, and agonizing agony.

Consult a qualified medical malpractice lawyer if you believe you have grounds for a claim alleging medical misconduct. Due to the need for expert testimony and evidence collecting, medical malpractice trials are typically expensive. A lawyer will review your case to determine whether it’s worth pursuing. 

Medical malpractice Statute of limitations

According to each state’s medical malpractice statute of limitations, you have one to three years from the date of the injury to file a case.

Know that the medical board may only take administrative action against the doctor’s license to practice medicine if you make a complaint to it first and then launch a lawsuit. You cannot use it to support a medical malpractice claim. Additionally, it is not permitted to share any of the data it gathers while doing its assessment with you or your family.

Serious harm can result from medical errors. Consider taking action if you believe your doctor administered the wrong therapy.