Last week I wrote about what medical malpractice is, and how you could determine whether it’s worth seeking the advice of a medical malpractice lawyer or not. This week, I’d like to share with you why may not have a claim, or why it may not be financially viable to sue for medical malpractice.
In simple terms, medical malpractice can be defined as complications arising from the negligence of one or more health care providers. These issues may be either financial or physical, or both. In addition, if you are treated by a physician whose medical license has expired, this counts as medical malpractice. The law is very clear as to what a legal healthcare provider is.
Unfortunately, for many people, there is no legal recourse, and this is often due to misconceptions as to what medical malpractice actually is, which is why it’s imperative to seek the advice of a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. It’s also important to bear in mind that all the sensationalist medical malpractice stories which make the news are the exceptions, not the norm.
In addition, sometimes patients have no idea that they have been subjected to medical malpractice until it’s too late to do something about it. The most common instances are due to management failure: delays in treatment, whereby a physician fails to hospitalize a patient; errors in diagnoses – although of course, doctors are not infallible; and use of inferior supplies and equipment in the treatment of existing conditions. Administration errors, such as the patient being prescribed the wrong drugs, are also common, and can lead to major issues, and even death.
Over 200,000 fatalities occur each year in the US, as a result of healthcare negligence, and yet, fewer than 10,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed. In order for a medical malpractice or negligence lawsuit to be filed, it has to be proven that there is actually a case, which means performing an autopsy – without one, it’s difficult to prove medical malpractice. It must also be proven that the medical staff in question were in some way to blame. Proving these things can be a daunting task, not to mention, time-consuming.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are expensive, and can drag on for years. In order to prove that a hospital (for example) is culpable, investigations have to be conducted, and expert medical witnesses called… and that is when there’s a good chance that there is actually a case. Very often, there are simply no grounds to file a lawsuit, no matter how much the patient may feel wronged. Or it may be that the cost of bringing the lawsuit exceeds the amount which may be recovered – it’s rare that punitive damages are levied against healthcare providers, and usually the award is just to cover the plaintiff’s medical expenses.
That said, if it turns out that you do have a case, then you only have 90 days from the time of the malpractice in which to file a Notice of Claim with the healthcare providers responsible for your predicament. If you or someone you care about has suffered because of what may be medical negligence, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Our expert and compassionate medical negligence lawyers will be able to answer your questions, and ascertain the best course of action for you. Call our New York medical malpractice lawyers at Antin, Ehrlich, and Epstein LLP today on 212-221-5999 for a free consultation.