As per a John Hopkins study, there are more than 250,000 deaths in the United States from medical malpractices. The Medscape Malpractice Report 2019 claims that more than 50% of physicians will face medical malpractice lawsuits once in their career. Anyone who wants to file a medical malpractice lawsuit will have to hire a medical malpractice attorney. So, who is a Medical Malpractice Attorney? And why do you need them? Let’s explore the meaning of medical malpractice first.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens when a hospital, doctor, or any health care professional, causes an injury to a patient. And the injury was made through a negligent act by them. A patient can be a victim of medical malpractice in different ways.
Like in anesthesia cases, giving a drug to an allergic patient or choosing the incorrect drug could be examples of medical malpractice. If a hospital makes an inaccurate diagnosis, performs unnecessary surgery, or ignores a patient to the point that his or her condition becomes unstable, the patient can sue the hospital.
If it is determined that the standard of care has not been met by the doctor or healthcare professional or hospital, then a case of negligence may be established. For a medical malpractice claim to be valid, it is not enough that a healthcare professional violated the standard of care. The patient must also prove he or she sustained an injury due to negligence.
To pursue a medical malpractice claim, the patient must show that the injury resulted in a disability. And it caused the loss of income, pain, suffering, and hardship or it developed significant present and future medical conditions and bills. Only medical malpractice attorneys can guide and litigate lawsuits on behalf of their clients. The clients may be patients or surviving family members of patients.
What kind of an Attorney you should hire?
If a patient is injured due to negligence by doctors, medical professionals, or hospitals, medical malpractice attorneys seek justice and damages on behalf of the patient. As per a 2018 Leverage RX report, a total of $4,031,987,700 was paid to the petitioners in medical malpractice cases. You will need a medical malpractice attorney for handling medical malpractice cases. Now, let’s see what’s the role that a medical malpractice attorney play!
Medical malpractice lawyers perform many of the tasks of a typical civil lawyer. They work on cases where there’s a legal disagreement but there are no criminal charges involved. They also interview clients and conducts investigations. Sometimes they also draft motions to develop trial strategies and litigates cases.
Medical malpractice lawyers also perform extra tasks. They work with medical experts to develop case theories, reports, and testimony to support the clients’ case. The medical experts take depositions of medical experts, medical personnel, and other third parties on behalf of their clients. They gather and analyze medical records, and also set up independent medical examinations to get a neutral evaluation of the patient.
Often they also perform medical research relating to the clients’ conditions. They are also responsible for working with legal nurse consultants to analyze the merits of cases. They review medical records and decipher doctor’s notes. A medical malpractice attorney specializes in specific types of medical malpractice cases. Birth injuries, nursing home abuse, surgery mistakes, dental malpractice come under their jurisdiction.
Finding the Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer – How can you Find One for Your Case?
Finding a lawyer is always very complicated. Of course, trusting an attorney who will guide you through a legal process cannot be very easy. Sometimes it becomes even more difficult in medical malpractice cases. Are you looking for a medical malpractice lawyer? Are you looking for someone who will help you sue a medical facility for injuries and damages which occurred during treatment?
You must remember a large number of people had given up before suing for medical malpractice. Do you know why? Because they were not able to get a good medical malpractice lawyer. Here are some tips that you can use to get a really good medical malpractice attorney.
Let’s start with something obvious, experience matters when it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits! Experience is the keyword in the process of hiring a medical malpractice attorney. You need to consider the element of experience when hiring a medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice attorneys need plenty of experience because they deal with highly sensitive cases. They must have experience in dealing with long sensitive legal battles.
In many cases, the legal battle between the patient and the doctor becomes emotionally intensive. Thus, these cases require an excellent attorney to mitigate and navigate these feelings, while remaining impersonal. Experience also helps the lawyer to remain calm in these emotional battles.
Besides this, it is only possible for an experienced attorney to be able to present the argument of the complainant (plaintiff) in a qualified court of law. Therefore, your attorney should be experienced enough to be able to present evidence before the court and justify the claims of the plaintiff. This can be an exceedingly difficult process. Simply because there can be legal hoops that will necessitate a breakthrough substantiated by proper evidence.
All these require experience and skills. Hence, while hiring the lawyer, check the person’s body of work carefully. That way, it will be possible to assess how many medical malpractices your lawyer has covered successfully, to determine their qualification and experience.
Knowledge is a Must!
Medical Knowledge is an important criterion. The lawyer that you hire must have sufficient knowledge about the medical procedures. It does not mean that they need to have a degree in medicine. However, he/she must be well-read on this. Otherwise, your lawyer will not be able to convince the court that they have the necessary knowledge to understand the case that has a lot of medical concepts.
If the lawyer does not understand the medical terms well or is not aware of the processes, they will not be able to argue the case. To get success in a case, the lawyer should be able to examine an expert witness while at the same time have a deeper understanding of the diagnosis, medical theories, or medical procedures that went wrong in the process.
Thankfully, there is scope, and it is also very common for many medical malpractice lawyers to rely on a team of medical professionals to understand their cases. Thus, these teams of medical experts provide lawyers with insights and knowledge regarding medical practices and acceptable medical standards. Therefore another key element to consider while hiring your attorney is to check whether he/she has a medical professional under their wing. If the lawyers fulfill all these requirements, then you are in the right place.
Litigation Experience is Also an Important Criterion
While choosing your medical malpractice attorney, you should also make sure that they have the necessary litigation experience. In most cases, the defendants might have large malpractice insurances with a lot of cash to spend on legal defense. Therefore, your attorney should be knowledgeable enough to file a serious case to counter the strong defense.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that personal injury cases and medical malpractice cases are not the same things. A total of 20,000 medical malpractice claims are filed each year. On the other hand, automobile accidents account for a greater share of personal injury cases in the US. As per reports, 52% of personal injury cases result from automobile accidents.
There’s one more thing that you must keep in mind – The duration of a medical litigation case tends to be lengthier than the personal injury cases. Therefore, it is very important that you feel comfortable with your medical malpractice lawyer.
Keep Your Interests First
Your medical malpractice attorney must have sufficient information on legal deadlines. This will help you to avoid the delays for more than years. After this time, the case will be knocked out on technicality grounds. This is why you need a lawyer who will champion your interests first.
Before hiring an attorney you must consider his or her fees. Attorney’s fees depend on his or her hourly rates, contingency fees, and flat fees. Hourly arrangement in legal representation can get very expensive and that, too, very fast. In this arrangement, you are paying for every hour of a lawyer’s time.
The flat-rate fee arrangement is sometimes convenient than the hourly arrangement. In this kind of agreement, you will know upfront about your payment obligation. In medical practice cases, resolutions can take months and even years. Many attorneys will not be likely to offer a flat fee for these types of cases.
Payment in terms of contingency fee basis is the most common process of paying a medical malpractice lawyer. A medical malpractice lawyer will offer legal services free of charge until your case settles. If you do not receive a favorable verdict, you will not owe your attorney any fees. Discussing fees with an attorney is something that you must do before hiring them. If you are worried about being able to afford legal representation, discuss fees with various attorneys before deciding what might work best for you.