Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you feel as though you have been treated wrongfully by a medical practitioner, you may be interested in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This requires a great deal of consideration because it is not an easy lawsuit to file. Medical malpractice lawsuits have been on the rise in the United States for years. As new treatments begin emerging, there are people who will be looking to place the blame for the problems associated with the procedures. While many of these are filed out of grief for the loss of a loved one, others are filed out of greed. It is important to determine the reason for filing the suit and to make sure it fits the definition of malpractice.

It is first important to know when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit that there is a statute of limitations. This means you only have a certain amount of time before you can no longer file a lawsuit. This is intended to protect doctors from people who are looking to sue after an unreasonable amount of time has passed. It is also important to know that you may not proceed in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit once a patient has been transferred to another facility of care. Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, consider legal consultation to make sure it is still a reasonable action.

You must also decide if you wish to seek a trial. It is the right of anyone looking to file a medical malpractice suit to seek a trial with a jury. A judge will preside over the trial and there will be a jury to decide the outcome. There will also be expert witnesses who will help determine whether or not the doctor violated medical standards. Whether through improper actions or gross negligence, there must be proof that the medical provider did something wrong. For many of these cases, it is determined that the lawsuit is intended to place blame and take money for the wrong reasons.

For these cases, finding the appropriate lawyer for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is crucial. Since the plaintiff is the person who was injured or killed by the improper medical practices, they need to be represented. Even if the person has passed, they are still considered the plaintiff and require adequate representation. When you have found a lawyer who has experience with filing medical malpractice lawsuits, you can proceed with the trial. The outcome is impossible to determine beforehand and varies vastly between different cases.

If you have a viable reason for filing a lawsuit, there are a few things to consider before rushing into a lawsuit. Doctors are required to maintain personal liability insurance in order to offset the costs of medical malpractice suits, so you must make sure you are prepared to face their lawyers. Since these lawsuits can number in the millions of dollars, it will pay to have a very good lawyer. But if you or someone you love were wronged by medical malpractice, it is worth the money and trouble.

Why Medical Malpractice Cases Are So Expensive

If you have been injured by a doctor or a hospital and have talked with a lawyer, you know that medical malpractice cases are expensive to pursue. Why? There are multiple reasons, but three of the main reasons are experts, discovery, and trial.

Experts

In a medical malpractice case, the injured patient must show, among other things, what the health care provider did, why it was wrong, how it caused the patients injuries, and the damages that the patient suffered as a result. Because we are not medical providers, we, ourselves, cannot explain or answer the what, why, how, and damage questions. Rather, experts are required to answer the questions.

Medical experts answer the medical questions. Economic experts answer the damages questions when the injuries are so severe that they impact the patients future, such as future medical care and future loss income.

In most medical malpractice cases, local health care providers, such as doctors, will not testify against other local health care providers. Therefore, expert health care providers from other areas of the country must be brought in to either prove or disprove a case.

Similarly, there are relatively few economic experts that can answer the damages questions. So, they to, generally have to be brought in from other areas of the country.

Experts charge large fees and must be reimbursed for their travel costs.

Discovery

One phase of a medical malpractice case is referred to as discovery. This is the phase where both sides are trying to discover what are the arguments of the other side. In other words, one side is trying to find out why the injured patient is saying that the medical provider injured the patient. The other side is trying to find out why the medical provider is saying that he/she didn’t injure the patient.

Discovery generally starts with interrogatories which are written questions that the other side has to answer. These questions in a medical malpractice case are normally much more detailed and complicated, and there are a lot more questions than the questions in a standard civil suit. The questions require a lot more time and legal expertise to prepare and answer.

Another part of discovery is called depositions which is where lawyers ask witnesses questions under oath. Usually, there is just a court reporter writing down verbatim whatever is said. With medical malpractice cases, depositions are usually videoed so that they may be used in trial. The videoing costs more.

Trial

The actual trial in a medical malpractice case will usually cost more than a standard civil trial cost. First, a malpractice trial may take a week (5 days) whereas a standard car accident trial may take one day. Second, in a malpractice trial, there a generally multiple experts that will testify (and most of them are from out of the area). In a standard car accident car, there is only one or two experts to testify (and they are normally from the local area). Third, a malpractice trial may involve a good bit of technical assistance to show videos and display other evidence.

This is general information only. If you have any questions whatsoever about medical malpractice lawyers, talk with a lawyer licensed in your state.

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