Medical malpractice is a form of personal injury where a patient is harmed by the careless or negligent actions of a health care professional. Some malpractice cases can cause serious, lifelong injuries, such as when mistakes are made during surgery. Others may delay a patient from getting the necessary treatment, which can have equally damaging effects.

This illustrates the importance of working with a doctor you trust and who has your best interests in mind. You should also look out for certain red flags, which indicate that it is time to look for a new physician to provide care.

Red flag #1: Your doctor uses complex medical jargon

The more information your physician provides, the more informed you will be about the care you are receiving. When doctors use complex terminology that is hard to understand, you are less likely to play a proactive role in your health and wellness. You are also less likely to pick up on mistakes or errors, such as a wrongly filled prescription. Medical staff should ensure patients understand treatments and diagnoses by using clear and concise language.

Red flag #2: You have trouble getting in touch with your doctor

Whether you have questions about treatment, are experiencing bothersome side effects, or need a prescription refill, you must be able to get in touch with your physician. If you leave a message with an answering service, your doctor’s office should get back to you within a reasonable amount of time depending on the urgency of the issue. Physicians should also provide a few different methods of contact, including email and text.

Red flag #3: Your doctor does not listen to you during appointments

Even when a doctor is busy, he or she must make time for patients. Listening to patient concerns can provide insight into symptoms and ailments, but it can also provide you peace of mind. Physicians who constantly interrupt or downplay patient concerns do a real disservice. They may also miss an important bit of information that could affect the patient’s outcome.