Filing a medical malpractice claim
If you believe you or a loved one suffered an injury or other condition as a result of negligence by a doctor, nurse or other medical professional, you may be considering pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. It may be difficult for you to determine on your own whether your situation can be classified as malpractice. Our team can evaluate your case and help you choose the appropriate next step.
Does your case qualify as malpractice?
In malpractice lawsuits, a patient or someone acting on behalf of the patient, such as a family member, brings charges against one or more liable parties with the goal of arriving at a settlement or court verdict. Individual healthcare providers, such as physicians, surgeons and other specialists, can be deemed liable if they make negligent surgical errors, medication and diagnosis mistakes, or neglect you as a patient. Entire healthcare practices, nursing facilities, hospitals and other entities can also be found negligent if they fail to train their staff or hire qualified personnel, or if they provide their staff with defective medical devices.
To be successful in your case, you and your malpractice attorney must prove that the liable party committed medical negligence based on all the following criteria:
A duty was owed to you (or your loved one) — Legally, healthcare providers assume duty whenever they agree to care for a patient.
The hospital or healthcare provider breached that duty — An acceptable standard of care was not met.
The breach of duty resulted in your injury. This is also known as causation.
You incurred significant damages as a result of that injury — Your medical malpractice claim is based on damages you suffer, whether they are physical, financial or emotional. For the case to have merit, you must have sustained losses warranting compensation, or you must have lost a loved one in a wrongful death fatality due to medical negligence.
Lawsuit and settlement
According to medical malpractice law, once your case gets underway, and prior to going to trial, there is an opportunity for all involved parties to participate in pretrial dispute resolution. A neutral party presides over this negotiation, and you and your medical malpractice lawyer, the liable party or parties and their lawyers, and all other relevant personnel are present. During this process, your case, which includes records of your injury or condition, is presented. You may also be required to provide supporting testimony or an affidavit from a qualified medical practitioner other than your own who can support your assertion that your healthcare provider failed to meet a reasonable standard of care. If you are able to reach a settlement during this phase, compensation is established and the case is closed. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case advances and a judge arrives at a decision. Most cases, however, do not reach trial — in fact, about 95 percent of cases settle. Our firm has extensive experience with medical malpractice cases, and can answer any questions you have about the process.