7 Advantages That Malpractice Attorneys Give You

Medical malpractice cases are incredibly challenging and success depends upon good facts advocated by good lawyers. Insurers representing doctors and hospitals regularly employ some of the most experienced trial lawyers and it takes a confident and steady advocate to stand toe to toe against these teams of lawyers throughout litigation that routinely takes years to resolve. Every medical malpractice attorney must be sufficiently knowledgeable in clinical procedures, technology and terminology to speak with authority to the silver-haired experts routinely hired to render opinions in such cases. The malpractice lawyer must be intimately familiar with record keeping procedures and abbreviations used by nurses and doctors in clinical settings and recognize patterns and deviations that indicate abnormalities affecting patient care. Typically, the lawyer handling a malpractice case works in concert with a team of clinical professionals who assist in identifying medical malpractice and ascertaining whether the malpractice caused injury. After malpractice has been established, the medical negligence attorney must prove all damages flowing from the malpractice, which can be challenging when most malpractice victims are in poor health even before suffering additional injury from malpractice. Medical malpractice attorneys must stay abreast of developments in both law and medicine in order to protect their clients. Additionally, years are typically required to hone the trial advocacy skills of presenting complex medical issues to judges and juries. The malpractice lawyer must not only understand the issues, but also explain them so jurors can also understand them. Because of the enormous cost of preparing a medical malpractice case, malpractice lawyers must make sure to only bring valid cases or risk huge financial losses for themselves and their clients.

1.Statistics

Over 400,000 people die from clinical errors every year in the United States. This is the equivalent of a major city being destroyed through doctor and hospital mistakes every year. The Journal for the AMA ranks malpractice as the third leading cause of American deaths behind heart disease and cancer. The most common category of malpractice is diagnostic errors followed by surgical mistakes. Even though these numbers are staggering, malpractice litigation represents less than two percent of all lawsuits brought before American courts. Although health care executives often point to courtroom verdicts as a driver of rising health care costs, litigation statistics related to malpractice claims show they represent just one-half of one percent of health care costs. Tort reform advocates lament waves of “frivolous lawsuits” but a Harvard University study published in the New England Journal of Medicine ascertained that 97% of all malpractice claims have merit. (The high number is because lawyers must very carefully screen this category of cases or risk financial ruin.) The same study noted statistics indicating a much higher likelihood of meritorious cases going uncompensated than for those without merit to result in a monetary settlement paid by insurers. If you need legal assistance you can also find additional legal aid here and you can search for a lawyer here.

2.Malpractice vs. Negligence

Malpractice and negligence are terms of art that have similar but different meanings. Not all negligence rises to the level of malpractice and not all malpractice constitutes negligence. In order to win a malpractice case, it must be shown that the clinical professional in question deviated from the standard of care for one in his position, and that the deviation caused injury. The standard of care is defined as what a reasonable professional in that position would do in the same situation. If the standard allows for some negligent act the case can fail. Surgeons have prevailed after leaving surgical instruments inside patients based on this reasoning. While most clinical negligence is malpractice, some is not. Malpractice can also be the proper act performed with insufficient skill, or an intentional act of wrongdoing.

3.Types of Medical Malpractice

Malpractice can consist of errors of omission and errors of commission. For example, missing a diagnosis because a particular test was not ordered would be an error of omission. Missing the same diagnosis by misinterpreting an ordered test would be an error of commission. Whenever a clinician deviates from the applicable standard of care, which is determined by standards practiced by peers in the same practice, it is malpractice. In order to prevail in court, it must be shown that both malpractice occurred and the malpractice caused injury to the victim.

4.Malpractice Claims

In order to bring a malpractice claim, the injured person, or surviving relatives must timely get in contact with a malpractice attorney. The attorney works with qualified clinical professionals to determine whether it in likely to hold up in court. This process relies on records typically created and maintained by the potential defendant in a malpractice case and in reviewing the documents one must constantly be on the lookout for altered, deleted or revised accountings of the event in question. All of this must be done efficiently and quickly to maintain compliance with filing deadlines.

5.Time Limits

Every jurisdiction has a strict set of deadlines for the bringing of a malpractice claim that may not be the same as bringing other types of cases in that jurisdiction. If a facility is maintained or operated by a governmental entity, it may have a unique set of deadlines not applicable to private enterprises. Malpractice attorneys must maintain familiarity with the law and its time limit for bringing cases in every jurisdiction in which they practice. There are often requirements for filing certain documentation prior to or conjunction with the filing of a lawsuit and lawyers must maintain a vigilant lookout over the deadlines associated with each case and jurisdiction. Anyone harmed by a clinical error should act quickly to allow for record acquisition and review, which can take months.

6.Outcomes

As mentioned earlier, less than 1% of malpractice victims receive a courtroom verdict, but for those who bring their case to the attention of a qualified malpractice lawyer, the odds are much higher. In 2014 nearly $3.9 billion was paid to victims of malpractice. Although tort reform has reduced the volume of cases, the average amount of each award has risen to over $250,000. This does not mean the outcome of every case is a winner, but malpractice victims with winning cases can expect reasonable outcomes.

7.Settlements

Malpractice insurers are notorious for refusing to settle cases that should be settled. Injured victims are typically required to hire an attorney, prepare the case and be ready for trial before settlements are offered. This is particularly true if the attorney has a poor or nonexistent record of success. For this reason, it is imperative to hire a strong advocate for a malpractice case.

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