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Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice? Read This Before You Sue

Michael Becker

2006 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that as many as 60% of the plaintiffs in medical malpractice suits are female, most likely because childbirth has many risks associated with it. Obstetricians and gynecologists lead the list of most frequently sued physicians (19%), followed by general surgeons (17%) and primary care providers (16%).

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As for what the victim endures, the average time between the occurrence of the injury and the closure of the malpractice claim is five years. Every state has a different statutes of limitations when you must bring a claim. A little over half (56%) of the claims result in compensation. The average amount paid per claim is just under half a million dollars.

The legal system sometimes seems insensitive about the damages a victim has suffered, both economic and non-economic. Yet, if you are the victim of medical negligence, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to see yourself as a statistic or a legal entity.

There is a very human side to medical negligence. We trust doctors with our lives. Our expectations for professional conduct are understandably high. When things go horribly wrong, one of the most difficult decisions is whether to file a suit for malpractice. If you have suffered substandard medical treatment, here are some things to consider before you sue:

The Cost of Legal Action in Medical Malpractice Suits

Litigation is expensive. On average, the administrative and overhead costs of a claim are more than $50,000. Claims that are resolved by trial can cost $100,000 or more. It is important to understand the financial ramifications of filing a medical malpractice suit. Examining expert witnesses, summoning medical records, recording depositions, and undergoing medical exams all cost money.

The Evidence in Medical Malpractice Suits

Naturally, a victim of medical negligence is angry. It is true that awards for the plaintiff in jury verdicts are much bigger than out-of-court settlements. But, it is also true that plaintiffs prevail in less than a quarter of the suits that go to trial. The court is an unbiased observer and will look for hard evidence. It is important to understand the difference between unsuccessful treatment or an acceptable complication and substandard care. You are unlikely to prevail if you cannot prove that the doctor breached the standard of care.

The Defendant in Medical Malpractice Suits

Understanding who is to blame is vital to the success of a medical malpractice claim. The doctor who treated you may not be an employee of the hospital where you received treatment. In such case, you will need to personally sue the physician rather than the hospital. But, negligence of a hospital physician or nurse is binding on the employing hospital.

The Timing of Medical Malpractice Suits

It can be extremely painful to learn that you are being denied your rightful compensation because you failed to act in time. Every state has a statute of limitations that defines the amount of time a plaintiff has to get a medical malpractice suit filed in court. Whatever the deadline, remember the clock starts ticking as soon as the injury occurs. You may be given special consideration if you did not discover the medical error until later. Again, the statutes varies by the state in which the negligence occurred.

The Emotional Impact of Medical Malpractice Suits

Suing for medical negligence is expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. The long drawn out process is adversarial. Anything is fair game. If you have not been entirely truthful, things can become very difficult. It is important to be mentally prepared for a microscopic inspection of your life.

Choosing an Attorney for a Medical Malpractice Suit

Proving medical negligence is no easy task. Your attorney should be an expert in the field with a proven track record in similar cases. Laws vary from state to state. An experienced attorney is more likely to understand the complexities of your case, so contact the Becker Law Offices today.

Photo via Pixabay

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