Medical Malpractice FAQ

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What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a civil lawsuit between an injured patient (or their estate) and their medical provider, in which the patient seeks damages for negligent medical care.

What do I do if I feel I have a medical malpractice claim?

Meet with an attorney specializing in the field of medical malpractice. These cases are usually quite complicated, so an attorney will want to do a thorough review of your case before taking it on. Additionally, the attorney will be able to answer any specific questions you may have about your case.

If you are unsatisfied with your medical care do you have a malpractice case?

Maybe, if the doctor did not provide a reasonable standard of care for the illness. Although medicine is a science, there are exceptions to every rule of medicine, and people may react differently to medications and surgeries. However, a good physician should inform you of the risks, benefits and alternatives to any medical procedure. The concept of informed consent means that you as a patient have had the opportunity to learn about any procedure and that you agree to it willingly and with full knowledge of its risks.

What are some examples of medical malpractice cases?

Medical malpractice cases can stem from any mistake or error in care by a medical professional. Examples range from botched surgeries, errors in administrating medication, inaccurate or missed diagnoses, or any care that is below the standard that other medical professionals would routinely provide under the circumstances.

How does a jury determine whether a doctor is negligent?

Because jurors are generally not skilled in medicine, expert witnesses will testify at the trial about the standard of care that the patient deserved. The jury must then decide whether that standard was met by the treating physician. If it was not, the doctor is negligent.

Are medical malpractice cases settled out of court?

They can be. However, in this area of law, out-of-court settlements are less likely than in other civil matters.

How long does it take to prosecute a medical malpractice case?

Medical malpractice cases can take several years to reach a conclusion. It can be a slow and financially draining process for both sides.

Is there a time limit to file a medical malpractice case?

Yes, the statute of limitations is set by each state. If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is best to contact an attorney in your state right away. Once the statue of limitations has passed you will not be allowed to file a claim for damages.

What are damages and how are they determined?

The damages in a medical malpractice suit can be past or future medical expenses, expenses for long-term care, lost wages or earning ability, and may include payment for pain and suffering.

Can I afford an attorney to represent me?

Many law firms take medical malpractice cases based on something called a contingency fee basis, meaning you won't have to pay attorney fees unless your case is settled in your favor. There are other fees that are generally associated with a case that you may have to pay, no matter if you win or lose. It's important to make sure you understand those fees when choosing an attorney.

Can my case be reopened after it has been settled?

In most cases no, as in you generally sign a release that keeps you forever from pursuing the claim again.

What type of expenses are generally paid in a settlement case?

Generally, a malpractice settlement covers past, present, and future medical expenses for the treatment of the injury specifically caused by the medical malpractice. Also, other financial and economic damages that the malpractice caused are covered, and compensation for pain and suffering.


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