Finding the right medical malpractice lawyer to help you make your case as the victim of negligence is important. There are lawyers who specialize in state laws related to malpractice, and these are the experts you need on your side. The search for the best lawyer is particularly important in Alabama where the laws make it more difficult than in other states for patients to get justice for being given substandard care.
Understanding what you might be up against in making your case is difficult, and this is why it is so important to take your time in choosing a good lawyer. An experienced malpractice lawyer can get a case filed before the statute of limitations run out and ensure that your evidence and expert testimony is adequate for making a strong case to win you justice and compensation.
Alabama Malpractice Laws
Lawyers in Alabama who specialize in medical malpractice need to be well versed in the state laws. Laws in the state became tougher for patients after a spike in malpractice claims and payouts in the 1980s. Changes to the Alabama Medical Liability Act put very tight restrictions on what could be accepted as expert testimony, a major tool that lawyers use to make a case of malpractice. The changes also capped damages, but the cap was later overturned by the state supreme court. There is currently no cap on damages that a patient can seek or be given in an Alabama malpractice suit.
The statute of limitations on liability cases in Alabama is two years from the date on which the malpractice occurred or six months from when the patient realized malpractice occurred. A child under the age of four when malpractice occurred has until the age of eight for a suit to be filed. Alabama also has a tough contributory negligence rule, which states that if a patient is at all negligent for his or her injury or harm, there can be no award given at all. Alabama is one of very few states that still has this rule, which can make it difficult for victims to get any needed compensation.
Alabama Laws Favor Doctors
Finding a good medical malpractice lawyer in Alabama is especially important because the laws regarding malpractice in the state are tough. They favor medical professionals over patients, which means that many cases in the state go nowhere and end in favor of the defendant. According to statistics that show the number of malpractice payments per one million residents, Alabama came in dead last between 2004 and 2014.
In one particularly devastating case, an oncologist put several patients through harsh and unnecessary chemotherapy treatments. Some of those patients suffered and then died, and were told by other doctors that they should not have received that treatment. One patient’s widow sued, and although the oncologist had his medical license revoked, the woman did not win her case or any compensation because of technical details.
The difficulty of making and winning malpractice cases in the state mean that patients who have been victimized need to take great care in choosing an Alabama medical malpractice lawyer. It takes a very dedicated and skilled lawyer with years of experience in the state’s malpractice law to have the best chances of success in settlement agreements or good trial outcomes.
Alabama Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Although malpractice cases are more difficult for plaintiffs to win in Alabama than in other states, there are some very hard-working Alabama medical malpractice lawyers who win what their clients deserve. In one of these cases the patient’s legal team worked hard to win $5 million. They also won his wife $2.5 million for loss of consortium.
The man in the case, from Birmingham, Alabama, had gone to the hospital with back pain after surgery. He was being monitored, but nurses failed to report his changing condition to doctors. By the next morning his condition was severe enough to warrant surgery, which caused permanent incontinence and impotence.
Another case involved a surgical mistake and also led to a multi-million dollar award for the patient. The man’s surgeon punctured his intestine while correcting a hernia. The surgeon didn’t repair the punctures and the man suffered serious infection as a result. He was hospitalized in the intensive care unit for six months to treat the infection. He was no longer able to work, and his wife had to quit her job to care for him at home. Their lawyers won the man $5.2 million and his wife $1.5 million, but it took ten years.
How to Find an Alabama Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When searching for a malpractice lawyer in Alabama, be prepared with all the evidence and medical records you have. Be ready to share the details of your situation with a lawyer so that he or she can help you determine if you have a case and if you will together be able to prove negligence and malpractice. Look for law firms and individual lawyers who specialize in malpractice because it takes detailed knowledge of the related laws in the state to be successful with cases.
Lawyers will ask you a lot of questions, but don’t be afraid to ask your own questions. Also know that after consulting with one lawyer you are not obligated to stick with them. You can change your mind and find someone else. Ask lawyers you are interviewing about their experience with malpractice, how many cases they have worked on, how many have led to settlements or jury decisions in their clients’ favor, and how much compensation they have won.
When you’re looking for an Alabama medical malpractice lawyer, above all, be sure to choose someone who you feel you can work with comfortably. Winning justice for the negligence that has caused you or a family member to suffer is important. You need a lawyer who you feel will give it everything to help you win. Before settling on a particular lawyer to help you with your case, check on licensing, experience, and generally make sure that you feel comfortable with an individual or legal team.