Malpractice Lawsuits

Malpractice lawsuits are filed when a medical or dental patient can make a case that they or a family member was injured through the negligence of a dental or medical professional, clinic or hospital.

These lawsuits are part of civil law rather than criminal law.

Malpractice Lawsuit Details

Every medical specialty has well-established practices and procedures for the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients. These accepted ways of doing things are sometimes called protocols. In addition, hospitals and clinics have protocols as well for such things are determining the credentials of medical professionals or for establishing the rules and regulations governing each specialty or department within a hospital.

Next, each medical professional is expected to have a high level of training, knowledge, skill and experience working in their specific profession.

Now, medical malpractice occurs when established protocols are not followed – or they are flawed in the first place. Malpractice also occurs when a medical professional does not perform up to minimum standards of skill or training. In short, when mistakes are made in a medical or dental setting, it is malpractice – which literally means “bad practice.” The mistake might be the result of poor administrative rules and regulations or the negligence of a physician or nurse.

Malpractice lawsuits are brought on behalf of patients when malpractice has led to their harm, trauma, injury, illness or death. In a specific way, malpractice lawsuits address the damage caused by medical mistakes. In a general way, they serve to hold the medical profession accountable for its procedures and practices.

In a medical malpractice suit, the person harmed, or their family, sue those responsible, including doctors, nurses and the hospital when appropriate.

When to File a Malpractice Lawsuit

Consider filing a lawsuit if you believe that negligence or mistakes made in your diagnosis, treatment, ongoing care or follow-up led to injury, illness, unnecessary scarring, permanent pain or similar issue. Parents can file a lawsuit on behalf of a child, and adults can file a lawsuit on behalf of a family member when malpractice resulted in their death or permanent disability.

On a practical level, the malpractice attorneys you meet with will only take the case when there is a strong probability of financial reward. This is true because most of them work on contingency. That means they don’t charge a retainer fee or bill you by the hour. Instead, you sign a contract with them by which they receive a portion of any settlement or judgment plus their fees. This situation works well for most people, since they might not be able to afford to file suit if they had to pay their lawyers hourly fees.

Hire an Attorney Specializing in Malpractice

Attorneys have specialties including family law, insurance law, criminal defense and personal injury. Malpractice attorneys are personal injury attorneys that specialize in issues related to dental or medical mistakes.

These malpractice lawyers will have the training, skills, experience and strategies to be most effective in winning dental or medical malpractice lawsuits.

Before you settle on an attorney and decide to sue, ask them if they’ve been involved in similar cases and what their results were. If they can show you specific cases where patients in similar circumstances to yours were compensated for their injuries, it’s a good sign that you’ve got a solid case.

Settling Lawsuits or Going to Court

If you have a very good case, it is likely that the doctor and/or hospital – or their insurance company – will want to settle out of court. If you are suing for $1Million, they might offer you half of that. Your attorney will negotiate the best possible settlement for you and give you the option of settling or attempting to get the entire amount in a court case.

If the case goes to court, it will be tried by a judge in front of a jury, with the jury deciding for you or against you. If they decide for you, the jury, or in some cases the judge, will determine the exact amount of the reward. If the jury decides against you, you and your attorneys will get nothing. This is why settlements are more common in these cases then jury trials.

However, as you look for the right malpractice attorneys, ask them how often they take cases to court. Going to court shows an aggressiveness and a willingness to fight for the maximum benefit to their clients. That doesn’t mean you should necessarily take your case to court, but it shows that your lawyers will do their best to get you the largest possible settlement.

If you believe you might have the basis for a malpractice lawsuit, make an appointment to consult with a malpractice attorney. Most offer free case evaluations. They’ll tell you whether or not they think you can win your case.

You might have to consult several malpractice lawyers before you find one who has the expertise you believe is required to do the best job for you.)