Medical Malpractice Lawyer
What you need to know
Medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional, hospital, or doctor causes a patient to suffer injury. The injury must occur because of negligence or an act of omission on the part of the medical provider. A patient can possibly receive compensation for these injuries by filing a medical malpractice claim. If you’re considering filing a claim, then a medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine if your claim is valid.
Proving a Medical Malpractice Case
In order to file a medical malpractice claim, the case must meet certain criteria. This is why consulting a lawyer is a good idea. The resources needed to prove a claim are generally easy for a lawyer to obtain. Your lawyer can help you determine the following:
- The healthcare provider violated basic standards of care. By law, healthcare providers are required to uphold certain medical standards. Each medical profession sets standards that professionals in the field must follow. And the care a patient receives should follow these standards. If a patient can prove these standards weren’t followed, then it is possibly a matter of negligence.
- The healthcare provider is guilty of negligent acts. Proving a violation of healthcare standards isn’t enough to validate a medical malpractice claim. The patient must also prove that their injury occurred specifically because of negligence. And if they healthcare provider hadn’t been negligent, then the injury never would have occurred. If an injury occurred with no proof of negligence, then there is no grounds for a malpractice claim.
- The injury caused major damage. Proving medical malpractice is often difficult. A case usually requires testimony from several medical experts and hours of testimony. In short, a case can take lots of time and money to litigate.
To justify pursuing a claim, the injury must have caused significant damage. If the injury is minor, then the cost of filing a claim will likely outweigh the potential gains. If the injury resulted in loss of income, emotional suffering, disability, physical suffering, or significant medical bills, then a claim is possibly worth pursuing.
Medical Malpractice Situations
A malpractice lawyer can help determine if your situation is an example of medical malpractice. Malpractice can include different situations, and it’s possible that your situation isn’t in fact considered malpractice. Some examples of malpractice include:
- The medical provider failed to make a correct diagnose or misdiagnosed an illness. And because of this, the incorrect medical care was provided.
- The medical provider read laboratory results incorrectly, resulting in an injury.
- Unnecessary surgery was recommended and performed.
- Errors were made during surgery, such as performing surgery on the wrong part of the body or performing the incorrect procedure.
- The wrong medication was prescribed or it was prescribed in an incorrect dosage.
- The patient received clearance to leave the hospital, but was in fact discharged too soon.
- Injury occurred because the medical provider failed to get the patient’s medical history.
Choosing a Reliable Medical Malpractice Lawyer
It’s best to contact a lawyer when you’re considering a medical malpractice claim. This type of claim is complicated, costly, and risky. It takes a lot of work to prove that negligence occurred. But a knowledgeable attorney can make the process easier. Here are some tips for choosing a reliable medical malpractice lawyer.
- Consider several different lawyers. Unless you have a preferred lawyer, then it’s best to shop around. Ask friends and family for suggestions. Talk to acquaintances that you associate with online. Search for lawyers in your area, and then take time to learn more about them.
- Choose a lawyer or law firm experienced with medical malpractice. Most lawyers specialize in a specific area of law. For example, some lawyers only handle criminal cases. And some lawyers only handle personal injury cases.A lawyer or firm who specializes in medical malpractice is likely to have highly-valuable knowledge. Their expertise in the area can possibly help the case go quickly. For example, a medical malpractice lawyer or firm is likely to have access to a network of professional witnesses and other valuable resources.It’s worth noting that some lawyers specialize in specific areas of medical malpractice. For example, a lawyer might only handle cases dealing with birth defects. And another might deal mostly with cases involving surgery mistakes or nursing home abuse.
- Review case history. A lawyer’s credentials and education is important. After all, you want to make sure the lawyer is legally practicing. But to get a better idea of their skill, it’s important to view their past settlements and verdicts.
- Ideally, you’ll want a lawyer who has won more cases than they’ve lost. But even if the lawyer has lost the majority of their cases, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not a good lawyer. Medical malpractice cases are tough to win, so even a good lawyer can lose a case.
- Check references. You’ll want to speak with past clients, if possible. This will give you an idea about how the lawyer behaves with clients and in court. If the lawyer has a bad reputation, then look elsewhere. Some lawyers might choose to keep their client list confidential. In that case, they won’t provide past clients for reference purposes. You might need to research the lawyer’s reputation online.
- Choose the lawyer or firm that suits you best. The goal is to find a lawyer or firm that you trust. The best medical malpractice lawyer is one that makes you comfortable. You’ll have to share personal and financial information with your lawyer, so trust is of the upmost importance.
What to Expect from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you’ve found a lawyer, there are certain things to expect. A medical malpractice lawyer has several job duties. In general, there are certain activities that a malpractice lawyer is expected to perform.
Most importantly, your lawyer will determine if you actually have grounds for a claim. If the answer is yes, then your lawyer has several important duties to perform. For example, your lawyer will need to work with medical experts to help strengthen your case. You’ll need expert testimony, reports written by experts, and case theories that help support your case. A good lawyer should have the resources to fulfill this necessity.
Your lawyer will also need to interview healthcare professionals, medical personnel, and other parties who can possibly help your case. It’s basically a fact finding or discovery process. It’s called “deposition,” and it takes place out of court before a trial begins.
Another important step is obtaining a medical examination from a neutral third-party. This assures that an honest evaluation of your injuries is provided. It’s also necessary to perform medical research to provide more insight into your injury.
Your lawyer will likely need to work with legal nurse consultants. These consultants can help your case in several ways. For example, a legal nurse consultant can interpret a doctor’s notes and other medical jargon. These consultants can analyze medical records and review your case.
These are things that you can’t achieve on your own. That’s why representing yourself during a malpractice claim is not recommended. You’re unlikely to have the knowledge or network of resources that a lawyer will have.
Convincing Juries and Winning a Case
Winning a medical malpractice case is tough. Proving negligence on the part of a healthcare provider is a challenge. Unless the negligence is blatantly obvious, then it’s not easy to prove. Even if a lawyer gathers significant evidence, that’s no guarantee that the evidence will convince a jury. There are several possible reasons for this.
It’s possible that juries know that medicine is a difficult field. They understand that mistakes happen, and that medical situations are often high-risk. Juries usually believe that healthcare providers do their best. But that sometimes their best still results in a bad outcome for the patient.
This mindset can cause a jury to side with the healthcare provider, and give them the benefit of the doubt. If a jury feels this way, they likely won’t side with the patient unless the negligence is obvious and extremely serious.
Statistics show that medical malpractice claims are on the decline. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue a claim that’s valid. Malpractice does happen, and it’s possible that you’re a victim. A medical malpractice lawyer can inform you of your legal rights and options. Never try to represent yourself when dealing with a malpractice case. Contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer for help with your case.
When looking for a lawyer, make sure to consider their past experience. But keep in mind that medical malpractice cases take a lot of hard work.
It’s great if the lawyer has won several malpractice cases. But even if they haven’t, it doesn’t mean they’re not good enough to represent you. This is why you’ll have to consider other things besides past performance. Speaking with past clients, reviewing the lawyer’s education, and learning about their reputation will also factor into your final decision.