Medical malpractice lawyers are experienced professionals who work with patients and their families who have been harmed by an error made by a doctor, hospital, or other medical facility. Whether the mistake was an error in treatment, a botched, surgery or a failure to provide adequate care, the patient can suffer a great deal and a good lawyer can be an advocate for the victim.
These cases often get settled out of court, but they can also go to trial before a jury. It is important that lawyers that take on medical malpractice cases have experience, a deep understanding of medical malpractice and negligence laws, and that they have some experience with both out-of-court settlements, and taking cases to trial. Make sure you choose a lawyer with this kind of experience and expertise to have the best chance of winning justice.
About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice lawsuits are cases brought by patients or their families after being harmed by the actions or inactions of a physician, another type of medical professional, or a medical institution, such as a hospital. When a doctor or other professional does not provide a reasonable degree of medical care, patients can suffer. Medical malpractice may lead to pain, illness, injury, ongoing medical bills, and even death.
Lawsuits brought against doctors and others responsible for medical malpractice are a way for the victim to get justice and compensation that helps to cover the costs of ongoing care as well as compensation for things like loss of consortium, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. Medical malpractice suits are also important for society at large because they set precedents that force medical professionals to take more care when doing their jobs.
What Medical Malpractice Lawyers Do
Medical malpractice lawyers are legal professionals who specialize in personal injury and negligence cases. Medical malpractice is a special type of negligence or personal injury, and many lawyers specialize even further and take only personal injury cases related to medical negligence and malpractice. They work with clients who are either patients or the family members of patients who were harmed or died from what they believe was medical negligence.
They advise their clients, gather information, make a case to prove medical malpractice, and take all necessary steps to win the best outcome. This may involve negotiating with a doctor’s or hospital’s lawyers to arrive at a settlement, or it may involve going to trial and making a case in front of a judge or jury. Most medical malpractice suits never go to trial but are settled out of court.
Medical malpractice lawyers have the basic but not always simple job of proving that medical malpractice has occurred. They take a lot of evidence, including medical records, depositions from the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s family, and medical experts, and any additional information from research to build and develop a case that make the case and prove medical malpractice. These lawyers also work closely with medical experts to compile and use all this evidence to make a case and may hire independent physicians to examine the client.
There are four factors that a medical malpractice lawyer needs to focus on to prove their client was the victim of malpractice. These include first establishing that there was a doctor-patient relationship between the client and the defendant with a duty of care, and then proving that the doctor committed a breach of professional duty, such as making a mistake with treatment or making a misdiagnosis. The lawyer then has to prove their client was harmed by that breach and that the harm caused significant damages, such as ongoing pain, a new medical condition, or mental anguish.
How to Choose a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you feel like you may have a valid malpractice claim, it is important to act quickly. The statute of limitations, the time you have to file a lawsuit, varies by state. If you wait too long to get advice and assistance from a professional, you may miss the deadline. The laws governing medical malpractice lawsuits also vary by state, so as you begin your search for a lawyer, be sure to start with your state and find a professional licensed there.
It is also important to work with a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases. To be guaranteed that you will be working with someone who truly specializes in this kind of law you can look for board certification through the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys and select one that specializes in medical cases. Liability attorneys may have experience in various types of liability and negligence cases, but look for one that specifically works with medical malpractice clients.
In addition to these specific factors you need to look for in a medical malpractice attorney, you should also take care to select from among those that are qualified and experienced. For instance, while most of these cases are settled out of court there is always the possibility that it will go to trial, so you want a lawyer who has at least some trial experience. Before hiring a medical malpractice lawyer, ask about these and any other things you want to know in order to feel comfortable with the choice:
- Experience with medical malpractice clients
- Outcomes and amounts won for previous malpractice clients
- Experience going to trial
- Any experiences leading a trial team, and the verdicts
- Board certification and specialization in liability and medical malpractice
- Membership and leadership in the bar association
- Costs and fees, whether they are hourly or based on the outcome of the case
- Experts that will be involved with the case
It is important to realize that a lawyer may turn you down as a client. If so, it is probably because the lawyer does not think your case is not strong enough. If you are turned down, ask what the reasons are and consider seeking another opinion or using that feedback to bolster your case.
Dealing with medical malpractice presents many challenges, especially if you are suffering with pain or illness because of negligence. Rely on trusted family to help you make decisions, but also make sure that you find and take guidance from an excellent medical malpractice lawyer. This professional can advise you and ensure that all steps are taken to maximize your chances of winning a settlement or trial.