There is little doubt that medical malpractice cases are no walk-in-the-park. When it comes to medical negligence and potential malpractice, there are mountains of hurdles and obstacles that can interfere with a victim’s effort to seek compensation for the damages and losses affecting their life.
First, it is worth mentioning that any attempt to resolve a medical malpractice matter without the help of a qualified attorney experienced in handling this unique type of case can end disastrously.
Malpractice is a serious matter. Doctors, health insurance professionals, and malpractice insurance companies will not just settle to close out an insurance claim. They will investigate any allegations of malpractice thoroughly, as they will the impacts of any injuries that a victim claims they suffered at the hands of a healthcare provider.
While there is an expectation that pursuing a medical malpractice case will face difficulties, that does not mean that these cases cannot succeed. Medical malpractice attorneys are often successful in reaching a favorable resolution for their clients suffering from injuries due to the negligence of a healthcare provider.
The Steps a Medical Malpractice Attorney Will Often Take to Win Your Case
There are various elements of a medical malpractice case that an attorney representing a malpractice victim must address and prepare for in the case. A medical malpractice lawyer will methodically work through preparing and filing an insurance claim or lawsuit following a negligent act of malpractice. The following are some steps your attorney may take to protect you and work toward winning your medical malpractice case.
1. Discovering Every Party That May Be Liable for Your Injuries
To succeed in a medical malpractice case, an attorney must ensure that every party that may have had a hand in the negligence leading to your injuries is a party to the case. The reality is that you may think that you know who caused your injuries only to later discover that protocols, common practices, procedures, or the actions taken leading to your injury may have come from the direction of another party.
Maybe one party took negligent actions causing your injuries. Maybe multiple parties did. A medical malpractice attorney will look closely at every fact and facet of your case, medical records, and testimony to scope out all possible parties to a case.
Including all potentially liable parties will protect your rights to recovery against them. If you don't include a party in a claim or lawsuit, adding them later in the case can present challenges. A court can even prohibit it if the statute of limitations ran out before you discover another liable party.
Parties that might have accountability in a medical malpractice case include:
- A doctor
- Nurses, aides, or other support staff
- Another healthcare provider
- The healthcare facility
- Pharmaceutical company
- A healthcare group or organization
- Manufacturer of medical equipment, device, or instruments
2. Finding and Preserving Evidence Available
The evidence in a medical malpractice case will make or break a case for the victim. In some instances, the evidence of potential medical malpractice, such as medical records, can be at risk of alteration, destruction, or misplacement in the aftermath of a medical incident gone wrong. This mostly applies when a provider already knows about your injury and the likely cause of your malpractice claim.
A medical malpractice attorney will not hesitate to take action to preserve the evidence that could be available after your medical malpractice injury. To win your case, your attorney will make every effort to keep that evidence protected and accessible to them to support your claim regarding fault or injury.
3. Proving that Another Party Is Responsible for Your Injuries
Proving medical malpractice is often the most challenging aspect of a medical malpractice claim. Doctors must always abide by their duty of care for their patients. Any action that contradicts that duty of care may be evidence of negligence. First, a lawyer will need to prove that you and your doctor or other healthcare professional had a patient and doctor relationship where a duty of care existed.
Once an attorney establishes this relationship, they must prove how the doctor or other medical provider breached that duty of care. Some instances may involve blatant breaches, but proving that a medical professional acted negligently can take extensive evidence. That evidence may include medical records, the testimony of other medical professionals, and expert testimony regarding the facts of your case.
4. Calculating the Your Medical Malpractice Losses
To fight for a client's compensation successfully, a lawyer must know how much the client lost due to their injuries. A medical malpractice claim is not confined to only what a victim lost so far, or to economic costs. The total compensation value can include an extensive series of losses, including intangible costs that may be difficult to estimate.
In the initial stages of a medical malpractice case, a medical malpractice attorney will take the time to understand their client's losses. While a medical malpractice victim may have some idea of their expenses and financial losses, an attorney can calculate additional losses they may have not considered so they can fight for the maximum compensation available under the law.
The state may limit your compensation or the category of losses in a claim. Typically, states don't limit economic damages. Some states limit non-economic losses.
To win a medical malpractice case, a lawyer must have a gauge by which to measure success. Knowing the maximum damages in your case can help your lawyer in their attempt to reach a reasonable and fair positive resolution that best meets your needs.
Damages in a medical malpractice case can include:
- Medical bills for the care received so far and any future care that can arise from your injuries
- Lost income due to interference in a victim’s ability to work
- Future loss of income or potential earnings affected by your injury or disability arising from your injury
- Cost of medical equipment, prosthetics, or devices necessary for your care
- Pain and suffering relating to your injury
- Emotional or mental distress due to the malpractice incident and injury caused
- Permanent disability or disfigurement due to the malpractice
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
5. Gathering Evidence to Support Your Injury Claim and Losses
Your attorney must first prove liability for your injuries to know who may be responsible for your sustained losses. However, proving your losses is an additional burden when filing an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit in court. A lawyer will work with you to show the injuries suffered by you due to the medical malpractice action.
You may have a singular injury, multiple injuries, or the development of a chronic condition or disability because of the failures of the medical professional to uphold their duty of care to you. While proving an injury is relatively straightforward, often through medical records, the evidence of the impact of the injury on your daily life can be much more complex.
The law allows medical malpractice victims to recover compensation for the loss of their ability to work, interruptions in their ability to enjoy their life, and other damages due to their injury.
A medical malpractice attorney will gather evidence supporting your claim of injuries and the consequences of those injuries on your current and future life. With evidence such as employment records, expert testimony, witness testimony, and your testimony, a lawyer can prove how your injuries are detrimental to you and have or will cost you throughout your lifetime.
6. Negotiating for a Reasonable and Fair Settlement
The negotiation process in a medical malpractice case can often feel long and tedious. A medical malpractice lawyer understands the challenges that this process will present and will use their negotiation skills and experience to try to reach the best possible outcome on behalf of their clients. In most instances of medical malpractice, medical malpractice insurance is the first line of recovery for a victim.
When a healthcare professional carries medical malpractice insurance this allows a victim of their negligence to resolve the matter outside of court. In some instances, attorneys reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance company that provides their clients with the compensation they need and avoids the long process of going through a trial.
7. Willing to Fight for Their Client in Court If Necessary
Not all negotiations are successful. Disagreements as to whether malpractice occurred or the extent of the damages to you incurred are common grounds for which an insurance company may refuse to offer a reasonable settlement. A medical malpractice attorney will fight for their client even if it entails filing a lawsuit in court and going to trial against the insurer or parties at fault.
Even through a trial, a medical malpractice attorney may continue to settle with the parties liable for your injuries. In many medical malpractice cases, the parties to a case will eventually reach a settlement they can agree upon before a trial concludes. However, if this is not possible, your attorney may continue to represent you in court and advocate to the judge and jury for compensation to seek a verdict in your favor.
Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Help You Fight for Your Rights
The only way that a medical malpractice attorney can try to help a client win their case is if a victim hires them. Hiring a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you become aware of your injury or suspect that you might be the victim of malpractice will put you in the best position in your case.
Taking too long to decide to act in your case or trying to resolve the malpractice matter on your own can cost you compensation and a successful outcome for your case.
Filing a malpractice insurance claim takes time. The medical malpractice statute of limitations may give you a short time to pursue your case.
Give your attorney as much time as possible to ensure they can thoroughly prepare your case, gather all evidence necessary and fight for the compensation you deserve.