Millions of Americans seek medical help every year. For most of them, the care is rendered in a safe and reasonable manner. However, there are many patients who are the victims of medical malpractice. The disheartening fact that is only a small percentage of those individuals harmed by a medical mistake actually seek legal advice about their options because they are convinced by their medical caregivers that there was no error. At Stern Law, PLLC, we have discovered that many people have questions and by getting the answers to these questions, they may have a better idea of how to move forward.
Here are some of the most common questions:
Of course, the most basic inquiry is what actions qualify as malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other medical practitioner, as well as a hospital or other healthcare facility, does not provide care that meets the applicable standard. The standard depends on the person or institution and the nature of the care. When the person does not satisfy the relevant standard of care and the person receiving the care is injured or killed, then there is a claim for medical malpractice.
Although most people think about doctors when they hear about medical malpractice, there are many different medical practitioners and institutions that can be liable for malpractice. Whether it is the doctor who failed to diagnose a condition, the nurse who administered the wrong dose of a medication, or the physical therapist who exacerbated an injury, it may be possible to bring a malpractice case. In fact, a hospital that does not have the proper protocols in place for the hiring and training of doctors or other medical practitioners may be liable in a medical malpractice case when one of those professionals harms a patient. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can provide answers about the likelihood that a particular person committed malpractice after a review of medical records.
After someone has been harmed because of a medical mistake and suffered from physical, psychological, or financial damages, then he may be able to bring a medical malpractice case. If a person has died as the result of a preventable medical error, then his family may be able to bring a wrongful death action.
The statutes of limitations in the different states are serious hurdles for many people who have a claim for medical malpractice. The time limits vary, but once the time has passed, it is impossible to bring a case, no matter how egregious the error. It is important to remember that there is a lot of work that goes into bringing a malpractice claim. An attorney cannot simply run to court and file papers to stop the clock from running. It is necessary to have a valid basis for the case, which requires a careful analysis of medical records and the facts surrounding the harm that occurred. In addition, a medical expert is needed to provide an opinion about whether or not there has been a breach of the applicable standard of care. For these reasons, it is imperative to consult with an experienced medical malpractice law firm like the Stern Law, PLLC as soon as possible.
In order to prove a case, it is necessary to demonstrate:
- The medical professional had a duty to provide a certain standard of care;
- The professional breached that duty;
- The breach was the direct and proximate cause of the harm; and
- There were actual, quantifiable, damages.
There are many factors that go into this analysis. The building of a case requires a significant investment of time. This is based on obtaining all medical records, going through the discovery process, including depositions, enlisting the assistance of medical experts who can testify about standards of care and the nature of the breach of the duty of meeting the relevant standard, as well as other preparation. If the case proceeds to trial, it could be several years before there is a final resolution. There are other events that might happen, depending on the jurisdiction. This includes mandatory or voluntary mediation. However, it is possible to negotiate a settlement in a much shorter period of time. When a person has retained an attorney, the timeline and goals will be one of the most important discussions that takes place at the outset of the case. Even if there are decisions made at the beginning of an action to proceed to trial, it is possible to enter into negotiations for settlement during the entirety of the case.
Although there is no way to guarantee a particular outcome, it is possible to analyze past cases in order to make some educated guesses about the likelihood of various outcomes. However, past success is no predictor of future results. No medical malpractice attorney should promise a specific result. At Stern Law, PLLC, we provide information and resources to our clients, along with recommendations, but the ultimate decision about whether to pursue a legal action remains with the person who has suffered harm, as well as his or her family.
There are many different fee structures that can apply to a medical malpractice case, although most attorneys who practice in this field offer a contingency fee agreement, where the attorney will take a percentage of the settlement amount or jury award. There are additional costs that are incurred throughout the litigation process, including court filing fees, expert expenses, and discovery and administrative costs. An engagement letter and retainer agreement should spell out how all of these costs are handled throughout the case.
These are only a few of the many questions that a person who has suffered harm due to a medical professional’s mistake may have. At Stern Law, PLLC, we are committed to providing clients and other individuals with the answers and information that they need to make the decisions that are right for them.
Stern Law, PLLC Advocates for Medical Malpractice Victims
At Stern Law, PLLC, we are committed to providing necessary resources to those who have been harmed because of a medical error, even if those people never become our clients. We believe that this is the right thing to do. If we do represent the interests of a client, then we zealously pursue the compensation that is necessary to move forward from a devastating injury. As part of our dedication to providing resources and information, we have people available to answer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.