While no case is “easy” to prove, personal injury claim and workers’ compensation claims are far easier to litigate and win than medical malpractice claims. Not only do medical malpractice claims require an ability to understand complex medical information and/or surgical procedures, but competent medical malpractice attorneys are difficult to find because medical malpractice claims are expensive, time-consuming, and challenging to win, and additionally, in California, damages are capped by the California MICRA law. Even if the victim feels blatant medical negligence has caused him or her harm, succeeding in a lawsuit against a health care provider is far from guaranteed.
Healthcare providers have medical malpractice liability insurance, and those insurers will aggressively defend their clients against medical malpractice claims. Investigating and defending such claims can be expensive for defense attorneys in the same way that these claims are costly to prosecute for medical malpractice attorneys who represent claimants. Many lawyers do not want to invest a lot of time and money in a claim that isn’t likely to be successful because if they are representing the claimant on a contingency basis, they will only get paid if they win or are able to settle the case.
5 Reasons A Medical Malpractice Attorney Won’t Take A Case
There are several major reasons a medical malpractice attorney may reject your case. Here are five main reasons why a medical malpractice lawyer will tell you “no” and send you on your way:
1. Medical malpractice attorneys are very selective regarding cases they evaluate or agree to take. The upfront costs necessary to prosecute a medical malpractice case can start from day one and can add up quickly. Money must be spent to obtain medical records, hire medical experts to analyze the medical reports, take depositions, or have other staff or lawyers assist with the case.
2. There is a strict statute of limitations period for pursuing a medical malpractice case in California. You must file your lawsuit within a year after discovering the negligence or within three years of the date of negligence, whichever occurs first. If your claim isn’t pursued within that timeframe, it will be thrown out by the Court, and no medical malpractice attorney will take your case. Even if you have hard evidence supporting your claim, it cannot be pursued if it is outside of the applicable statute of limitations.
3. A medical malpractice attorney must be able to earn a profit from the case. They must pay their expenses, compensate experts and other lawyers, and be able to compensate themselves for their services. There is a limit to how much a medical malpractice victim can be compensated through a medical malpractice claim. In California, damages for pain and suffering are capped at $250,000. The medical malpractice attorney will usually (but not always) be paid through a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the winnings or settlement amount if and when the lawsuit settles or otherwise concludes favorably. If the medical malpractice attorney doesn’t believe he or she will be able to obtain a decent settlement for your case, they may not agree to take it.
4. Next, there must be valid proof that medical negligence occurred. Even if you suffered from apparent injuries, if the medical malpractice attorney cannot prove there were errors in the medical care you received, the case may fail. If the injuries suffered were a known complication of the treatment or procedure, then the health care provider’s conduct might not constitute medical negligence.
5. If it cannot be proven that the wrongdoing of the healthcare provider caused the specific injury in question, then a medical malpractice attorney may not be interested in representing you. Often, it is easy to prove someone was injured, but it is far more challenging to successfully show that a specific medical professional’s mistake caused the injury in question.
Consult a California Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in California, consult with Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney and physician Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. As a doctor and a lawyer with a decades-long track record of successfully proving medical malpractice cases, Dr. Kramer will fight for you to ensure that justice is served. Contact the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. at (310) 289-2600 for a free initial consultation.