Medical Malpractice FAQs

Hello, and thank you for reaching out to McCready Law. Please take the time to listen to the following frequently asked questions and their answers to determine whether you have a medical malpractice claim. At the end of this session, please feel free to fill in the contact form with your information and a personal injury attorney will be in touch soon.

Medical malpractice is simply a fancy term attorneys use to describe a case where a patient got injured due to the negligence of a healthcare provider. When you seek medical attention, the last thing on your mind is the aggravation of your original condition. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers take a medical oath known as the Hippocratic Oath which implores them to do no harm to their patients. In addition, these professionals undergo years of rigorous training in order to ensure they are competent enough to provide excellent medical care to all, in an equitable and consistent manner. Therefore, if an injury occurs due to negligence, you can almost always lay the blame on them as nothing happens in a vacuum, and almost all negligent actions can be attributed to human action, or lack of thereof.

In order to have a valid medical malpractice claim, it must be established that there was a doctor-patient relationship, as this established something called duty of care. This can be shown by the production of medical slips, receipts, appointment and prescription notes, and so on. Any injury claim is predicated upon the breach of duty of care, which is where we come in. we help build a case on your behalf where we show through a preponderance of the evidence how a physician’s actions led to a breach in their duty of care towards you. In addition, you must have suffered injury that can be compensated by way of damages such as lost wages, cost of additional medical care, pain and suffering and so on.

Choosing the right medical malpractice attorney must be done with great care as it might make or break your case. With these kinds of claims, the stakes are high, and your health and wellbeing hang in the balance. If you’ve never done this before, you may be wondering how you can avoid making the wrong choice. The first thing to ask the attorney is whether they have experience and a proven track record when it comes to handling these types of cases. This is because these cases carry with them unique legal requirements as well as complex evidence that can stand up to scrutiny, something your average injury attorney may not be aware of.

In addition, your ideal medical malpractice must have experience working with experts in the medical field as well as access to a network of the same since these respected professionals will be able to provide objective medical analyses of your injuries that can be the difference between receiving, for example, $5000 for your health complications, or $50,000.

On top of that, even though attorneys do not have medical degrees and may be considered laymen in this subject area, your ideal medical malpractice attorney must have in-depth knowledge of your health condition or injury, and this can only come with past, extensive experience handling these types of claims. This consequently provides them with a firm grasp of your case, making it possible for them to provide an educated opinion on what your medical malpractice injury claim is worth. Next, even though most claims never get to trial and settle out of court, going with an attorney with trial skills is always advisable in the event that your case takes this route. Jury verdicts come with substantial settlements, and a medical malpractice attorney with trial experience can recover this for you.

Medical malpractice cases can be complex, and as such, it is asked that clients exercise patience. However, these cases often have the potential for substantial compensation, especially if you suffered irreversible and catastrophic health complications or injury.

The first stage involves the initial consultation and case evaluation, a process where you meet with your attorney in order to discuss the particulars of your case and determine whether you have a valid claim. The attorney, during this phase, will consult with expert witnesses as well as take a look at your medical record and then provide you with an assessment regarding the viability of your claim. This process is expected to last anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks.

The next stage involves the preparation and filing of your law suit, and this generally includes the drafting of all lawsuit documents and their filing with the courts. The complaint forms the nexus of these documents as it provides the courts as well as defendant’s representatives with the medical malpractice allegations as well as the damages you’re seeking. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

Next, we have discovery, which involves the exchange of documents between the two parties, depositions, and the gathering of evidence which forms the foundation of the case. Depositions can be extensive, and as such, discovery can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

The fourth stage is the settlement stage or preparation for trial. Depending on the outcome of discovery, both parties may agree to settle out of court, which is ideal in most cases as it eliminates the need for expensive and drawn-out litigation, and settling can take 3 to 6 months.

Finally, trial and verdict happens when parties are unable to agree on a settlement. Often, insurance companies will refuse to pay out settlements in high stakes cases because they believe that the claim isn’t worth what we are asking for on behalf of the client. Most of the time, they are wrong. In such cases, we will prepare your case for trial, which will culminate in a judge or jury rendering a final verdict. Trial typically takes 2-4 months.

Even though this entire process may seem exhaustingly long, it is necessary to ensure that you receive compensation that is commensurate with your injuries. Overall, you can expect the process to take up to 1 to 2 years from beginning to end. Finally, please note that these time estimations are approximates and they are not set in stone, and that each case is unique, so yours might take a shorter duration or longer, depending on the particulars of your case.

Medical records are a pivotal part of any medical malpractice claim. In fact, one could argue that up to 70 percent of the viability of your case and your ability to recover damages will hinge on your medical records. To this end, you must do everything in your power to secure your medical records. If this is your first time filing such a legal claim, it is important to note that your medical records are sacrosanct, or cannot be shared by any third party without your consent. To this end, you want to start by contacting all providers that provided treatment to you shortly after suffering your injuries. This can include clinics, hospitals and ER centers, physicians and so on. Next, you want to submit record release authorization forms to these entities so that these healthcare providers can release said records.

The third step involves having us, your chosen medical malpractice attorneys submit your formal requests for your medical records to every entity that was involved in your treatment. It is important to note that these requests ought to be detailed and exhaustive, asking that the healthcare providers furnish you with labs, imaging results, and so on in order to build a strong case.

Next up, we will follow up on these requests so that they are provided to us in a timely manner so that any filing deadlines are not missed so your claim is not jeopardized. Once we receive this information, we will review them to verify that there is indeed evidence of medical malpractice or negligence, and shall be chronologically organized so that we can comb through them exhaustively.

Last but not least, our attorneys will liaise with our network of medical experts so that a thorough review of the records can be performed and expert assessment is made to strengthen your case. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that your medical documentation is complete and watertight so the integrity and legitimacy of your claim cannot be questioned.

Damages in medical malpractice can be all-encompassing. This is because the law works to make you whole again in a manner that is both reasonable and exhaustive. The idea here is to make sure that your life is not interrupted by the negligence of a defendant, and if it is, you are returned to a state that you previously were in prior to your injury or condition. To this end, you can recover different forms of damages, with the first one being loss of earning capacity, or lost wages. This refers to income you lost or forewent as a result of your injuries caused by the healthcare provider’s negligence. If your case involves a permanent impairment or disability, you may also be able to collect for future earning capacity.

Next, pain and suffering is a form of damages attributed to personal injury lawsuits and this refers to any emotional distress, physical pain as well as diminished quality of life that can be attributed by the fallout of the negligence which caused your health injury or condition. Just like with lost wages, pain and suffering damages takes into account future states and the pain you may have to endure in your life going forward.

Third, is disfigurement and disability. Far from being vanity, our looks and the way we present ourselves to the world is a key part of our self-esteem or self worth. Diminished self-esteem can have a knock-on effect on all aspects of our lives, from our health, to work performance, as well as interpersonal relationships. Therefore, a monetary value can be apportioned to this form of suffering which can go into paying for assistive technology such as wheelchairs, crutches, braces as well as therapy and even reconstructive surgeries.

Loss of consortium is also another form of damages you can recover and this is defined as the loss of support, companionship and intimate connections you would have continued you have if the injury did not have happened.

Lastly, punitive damages are monetary payouts that will be awarded if it is determined that the healthcare provider acted in a manner that was particularly egregious or reckless and with wanton disregard for your safety in order to prevent such behavior from the provider and others by sending a strong zero tolerance message.

We get it. You may have consulted with friends or even spoke to a few lawyers and were daunted when you heard about the high fees that medical malpractice attorneys charge. Consequently, you may be thinking of self-representation in order to save on the costs of hiring an attorney. While this is technically possible, we don’t recommend that anyone do this due to a number of reasons.

For starters, hiring an attorney will give your case access to medical experts whose opinions are highly valued in a court setting or by the insurance companies. These are highly trained individuals that have handled such cases and are able to provide unassailable expert testimony on how your injuries were proximately caused by a healthcare provider, resources you wouldn’t have access to if you chose to represent yourself.

In addition, attorneys are highly skilled when it comes to negotiating with insurance companies as well as other parties that may have numerous legal tricks under their belts which they won’t hesitate to use in order to invalidate or cast aspersions on the legitimacy of your claim.

Self-representation in medical malpractice claims is never a good idea since you may not be able to adhere to strict deadlines or even be aware of these procedural requirements in the first place. Missing out on a filing deadline or filing past the expiry of statute of limitations can result in case dismissal. Therefore, an attorney will be on top of these deadlines, ensuring timely filing of all documents.

Last but not least, the experience that a medical malpractice attorney has will enable him to quote case law, navigate statutes and apply the law to your case in ways you never would have considered due to the simple fact that you did not go to law school, and they did. Their track record will also finally display a competence that you will not have, representing yourself and most likely, bungling your own case. Have a claim? Leave it to us to get you the best possible outcome and compensation for your medical malpractice claim.

No parent wants their child to be the victim of injury by a medical professional. Unfortunately, in this imperfect world, these things happen, and it’s up to you to fight for their rights such as in the case of birth injury or complications of a botched, routine surgery such as an appendectomy. The first exception with regard to medical malpractice cases involving children includes the extension of the statute of limitations, which loosely defined is the time period within which one must file a claim or lose the right to do so. In many states, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin to kick in until the child reaches the ages of 18 to 21 depending on the state.

In addition, damages for cases involving minor may take into account the child’s potential future earnings taking into consideration their health, intellectual disposition and overall health, particularly if the child suffered a disabling injury such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, loss of a limb, loss of eyesight and so on.

On top of that, medical providers are held to a much higher duty of care when treating minors and are mandated to ask for informed consent from their parents or guardians. They are also legally required to let these individuals know about the potential complications and risks that the medical procedure entails given the age of the minor and due to the fact that complications are more likely to occur in minors or the elderly.

Lastly, on top of an attorney, your child may be assigned a guardian ad Litem by the court to protect their legal interests for the duration of the suit or claim. All in all, minors and children are afforded special legal care in almost every state, done in an effort to get the best possible outcome without exposing them to the vagaries of a lawsuit.

While it’s technically possible to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical malpractice claims involving catastrophic injuries or health complications, just about every state has capped the amount one can recover in these cases.

Typically, the amount of damages one can recover is capped in most states, and this amount rarely goes over $900,000 dollars except in cases of catastrophic injury, full paralysis and disability, or wrongful death.

However, in other states, there is a demarcation in the capping of damages such as non-economic and economic damages being capped different, or one of the two not capped at all. Over the last few years, attorneys have taken certain medical malpractice cases to higher courts and had these capped overturned due to the unconstitutional nature of said caps.

Still, damages may be ordered to be paid as installments or periodically compared to a lump sum payment, especially if the damages exceed a million dollars.

Well, the good news is that there are no upfront costs once you consult with an attorney in our law firm so they can handle your claim. This is because we are paid on something known as a contingency fee basis, which means that we’ll only recover our cost of representing you if we win your case for you and recover compensation on the same. This contingency fee is a percentage of your compensation, and this figure will be agreed upon by both parties before the commencement of the suit.

Legal costs are handled by the law firm, but certain things will need to be taken care of by you, such as court filing fees, expert witness fees and the associated costs of retrieving your medical records, which in general are very nominal or low. That said, you may sometimes be asked to assist with expert witness, and deposition fees, which are also pretty low. If we end up taking on to these ongoing costs, we will deduct them from the settlement at the end of the suit as agreed upon from the onset of the claim. Rest assured that our law firm will take up the bulk of the costs of filing and trying your case, leaving you to focus on more pressing personal issues

Timely diagnosis is key in the treatment of a patient so that they can make a sustained recovery from their condition. That said, just because your doctor failed to diagnose your condition in a timely manner doesn’t mean that you have grounds for a lawsuit. This is because of the fact that there must be a confluence of factors that must come together in order for you to have a valid claim.

The elements of any malpractice lawsuit is governed by the following elements: you were owed a duty of care by your healthcare provider, they breached this duty or standard of care, which led to your injury or condition, and that you suffered compensable damages as a direct result of this breach.

In order to establish the grounds of a claim, we must ask wheat another physician who is as reasonably skilled as your doctor would have done in such circumstances. As your medical malpractice attorneys, we must show that your physician’s actions were below this standard of care.

Lastly, if the doctor failed to diagnose your condition in a timely manner, but you never suffered any compensable damages such as lost wages, loss of consortium, cost of additional care and so on, you may not have a case. If you’d like more information on this, please reach out to us for an in-depth case assessment.

This is an interesting question. What most of our clients fail to realize is that these cases rarely go to trial, and if they do, they are typically settled out of court. This is because long, drawn-out litigation hurts both parties and does not necessarily lead to a favorable outcome. In most cases, settling is the reasonable thing to do. That said, there are terms and conditions that one must abide with if they accept a settlement.

For instance, you will sign a legal document agreeing to a certain lump sum payment in order to relinquish your right to bring forth a case at a later date. In addition, you will be asked to sign a document containing a confidentiality clause which bans you from speaking about the details of the payout and the case in any public setting. As mentioned above, you will also sign a document waiving your right to file future claims. Last but not least, you must be aware of your tax requirements as they relate to your settlement, and tax fees are typically handled by you, the plaintiff.

Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out claims, no matter how much they try to make you believe that this is the case thanks to their dozens of adverts on prime time television every day. They hire expert claims adjusters with years of experience and the know-how when it comes to shooting claims down.

Some of the tactics they use is questioning and denying the fact that there was a breach of standard of care, and this is done by calling forth expert witnesses that show there was no such breach and that the physician or health provider was working within this standard of care given their similar position as healthcare providers.

Claims adjusters will also question causality and state that your pre-existing medical conditions were the result of your health complications or injury, and not due to the actions or inaction of the healthcare provider.
In addition, they may even go as far as saying that you had some part to play in your own injury, quoting comparative negligence laws in order to reduce the physician’s liability to negligible levels.

Other adjusters may also allege that you filed the claim way after the statute of limitations lapsed, thereby invalidating your claims. In another twist, they may claim that your damages do not line up with the level of compensation you’re seeking, and even bring up an expert witness to discredit your account and request for compensation.

Lastly, procedural defenses may be used against you, such as questioning evidence in the case, and even the qualifications of expert witnesses we sourced to help bolster the legitimacy of your case. as a law firm, there is nothing we haven’t seen from insurance companies; luckily, we’ve won countless such cases giving us the confidence needed to stand up to the dishonest and unethical tactics often used by these mega corporations.

It is important to note that a person’s rights do not end when they die. Whenever there is negligence, their survivors are legally permitted to file a legal claim. That said, only certain individuals are provided this right. This typically includes immediate family members such as children, the wife or husband, or their parents. However, some states even allow close relatives such as grandparents, siblings and cousins to file this claim as long as they can show that they were financially dependent on the individual.

In wrongful death claims, you can recover burial or funeral expenses, loss of future income, loss of consortium or companionship, pain and suffering, and even punitive damages if the actions of the healthcare provider were particularly egregious. You have from 1 to 3 years of the demise of your loved one to file a wrongful death claim according to most states’ statute of limitations, so time is of the essence.

This concludes our medical malpractice FAQs. We understand that you may have additional questions, or are ready to speak with one of our experienced and results-oriented attorneys. Please reach out to us by filling in the contact form to your right, and an attorney from our award-winning medical malpractice team will reach out to you. Thank you for choosing McCready Law.