Healthcare providers are responsible for the health and safety of their patients. Generally, healthcare providers monitor patients’ health and safety in a diligent and professional manner. Sometimes, however, mistakes and accidents do happen.
When you’re injured through the improper actions of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or another healthcare professional, you can find yourself dealing with serious medical issues that should never have happened or extensive medical debt that should never have been incurred.
Unfortunately, some medical providers won’t admit that they made an error, or they will refuse to take steps to right their wrongs. That’s where a medical malpractice attorney comes in. An attorney uses the law to fight for your right to compensation for injuries caused through negligent medical care.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is widely considered one of the most complicated types of personal injury law.
When one person’s negligence causes harm to another, personal injury laws allow injured victims an avenue for receiving compensation for their damages.
The assumption behind personal injury law is that everyone has a basic duty of care toward others. Medical malpractice is more complicated because healthcare providers aren’t simply held to a general responsibility to show care to others; instead, they are bound by a professional duty of care.
This means that when a healthcare provider’s error, oversight, or poor judgment leads to an injury, a more serious form of negligence has occurred. Patients trust their doctors with their lives. When that trust is violated, and a patient is harmed, consequences can be steep — and compensation can be high.
What Is a Medical Malpractice Attorney’s Job?
A medical malpractice attorney’s primary job is to prove that a healthcare provider acted negligently and in so doing, caused an injury to a patient. If the attorney can demonstrate both of those elements, then he will likely be able to recover compensation for a client.
- Your attorney will have many roles to fill as they work to achieve this goal. They’ll need to:
- Identify whether you have grounds for a case
- Hire medical expert witnesses to evaluate the care provided
- Assess the extent of the harm
- Conduct depositions to get additional information from the treating providers
- Establish a target for the amount of compensation that is due
- And finally, negotiate with the insurance provider (or its lawyers) to achieve a settlement.
In most cases, a lawsuit will need to be filed in court. In some cases, however, even after a lawsuit is filed, if a settlement cannot be reached, a medical malpractice attorney may be required to take your case to trial in front of a judge and jury, where a verdict on your case will be reached and you will either win or lose your case.
Proving Medical Malpractice
In any personal injury case, the attorney needs to prove that the other person’s actions have met the legal standard for negligence. In a medical malpractice case, that process is more complicated.
Proving medical malpractice requires a medical expert witness. This witness is a board certified professional who is qualified to practice the same type of medicine as the provider being accused of negligence.
The medical expert witness that is hired by your attorney will need to evaluate your medical records and possibly testify under oath whether your healthcare provider’s actions were negligent and therefore constituted malpractice.
A medical malpractice attorney needs to have the extensive legal and medical knowledge to successfully build a winning case.
Experience is also a critical factor in success. When a medical malpractice lawyer has a long practice history and can demonstrate positive outcomes in similar cases, it’s a good sign that your chance of compensation rests in capable hands.
What Happens During a Medical Malpractice Case?
Once you begin working with a medical malpractice attorney, most of the work lies with your lawyer. You’ll likely need to have an initial consultation to discuss your case, and you’ll likely need to meet with your lawyer again as your case moves forward.
However, an attorney’s job is to take on the negotiations while you focus on healing. One of the biggest hurdles in a medical malpractice case is securing the testimony of a medical expert witness. Once this is accomplished and the argument for negligence is built, the rest of the case becomes a matter of convincing the defendant that their actions were in fact negligent and to settle the case for fair compensation.
Medical Malpractice Compensation
Establishing a compensation goal involves identifying what the injury has cost you, whether personally, psychologically, physically, financially or otherwise. In addition to medical bills, you can seek compensation for items such as emotional anguish or diminished quality of life.
Once your lawyer has built an argument to support the compensation figure you’re seeking, they’ll negotiate with your healthcare provider’s insurance company. While sometimes it’s necessary to take a case to trial for a fair outcome, the majority of cases are resolved at the negotiation stage.
Once the case is complete, your lawyer will release your funds according to the chosen payment structure. While no amount of money can restore your health after it’s been damaged by negligent medical care, a medical malpractice attorney can help ensure that the burden is eased and that you’re not left paying for a healthcare provider’s error.
If you think you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, time is limited. Contact The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney today.