Before you can claim the compensation you deserve after a malpractice-related injury, you need to know how to find a good malpractice lawyer.

Medical malpractice cases are complex and can take years to complete. You need a lawyer by your side who understands the unique challenges and is prepared to meet them. One way to ensure that you get the right representation is to ask the right questions.

By asking the following questions during your initial consultation, you can determine if you’ve found the right lawyer for the job:

  • How much time do we have to work with?
  • What background do you have with malpractice cases?
  • What background do you have with my specific injury?
  • What resources does your firm have to cover the costs of the case?
  • Is a settlement or trial more likely in my case?
  • How many cases have you taken to trial?

Let’s look at each of these questions, why they matter, and what answers you want to hear.

How much time do we have to work with?

You should start your consultation by asking your lawyer how much time you have available to file your claim. This is an essential question because strict statutes of limitations apply in medical malpractice cases. If you don’t seek justice soon, you may lose your chance.

In some states in the US, the time limit for filing a claim is as short as a single year from the injury date. The extent of some injuries resulting from malpractice may not even be apparent until months after they occur, so it’s unwise to wait, even if you’re not in a lot of pain.

Your lawyer will be able to provide you with the time limits on filing a claim in your state. Use that answer to determine if you have time to continue researching your options or if you should make a strong decision right now.

What background do you have with malpractice cases?

You should ask your lawyer what experience they or their firm have with malpractice cases. The answer they give matters because you need a lawyer who is highly experienced with these types of cases.

Malpractice law is complex, and filing a successful claim often involves a significant amount of proof. Even understanding the evidence involved in these cases can require a medical background or access to medical professionals.

Furthermore, these cases are often fought against lawyers hired by national insurers who have significant resources. The lawyers employed by malpractice insurers will have a lot of experience, so make sure that your lawyer has the background to keep up.

What background do you have with my specific injury?

You should ask your lawyer what experience they have litigating cases that involve injuries like yours. On its own, malpractice law is different from other types of law. However, there are also significant differences between the most common types of personal injuries.

Due to the special factors involved, you may be able to find lawyers in your area who focus on all of the following types of medical malpractice negligence:

  • Misdiagnosis (or delayed diagnosis)
  • Birth defects
  • Spinal injuries
  • Surgical errors
  • Medical product liability
  • And many more

If possible, try to find a lawyer who has experience with the category that most closely matches your injury.

What resources does your firm have to cover the costs of the case?

You should ask your lawyer what resources they have to pursue your case and who is responsible for covering expenses until the trial is complete. These are important questions because the costs of malpractice cases can be immense.

Even law firms that work on contingency may not cover all the necessary expenses for their clients. You will need to negotiate what will be covered, and some smaller firms may simply not have the resources to cover every cost.

The resources needed to complete a malpractice court case include:

  • Court filing fees
  • Administrative fees
  • Lawyer fees
  • Expert witness fees

These costs can easily exceed $50,000 before the lawyers have even been paid.

Is a settlement or trial more likely in my case?

You should ask your lawyer whether they believe your case is more likely to end in a settlement or a trial and which one they would prefer. The best answer depends on what you’re hoping to get out of your claim, though the choice isn’t always yours.

Resolving your claim through a settlement means that your lawyer was able to come to an agreement with the opposing party. You won’t have to spend as much time in a courtroom. In most cases, settlements are also resolved far more quickly than trials.

Resolving your claim through a trial means that you have the best chance at maximizing your award. Most insurance companies that settle do so because they suspect that they’ll pay more at trial. On the other hand, if you lose at trial, you won’t get anything.

How many cases have you taken to trial?

You should ask your lawyer how many cases they’ve successfully taken to trial over their career. This is not only a good indication of their experience; it’s a good indication of whether or not they’ll try to seek a settlement even if a trial is in your best interest.

It’s rarely a good sign if your lawyer has taken very few cases to trial. If they have taken many cases to trial, you can consider the rate at which they are successful.

Start your journey to justice by asking the right questions

Before you can get compensation for your personal injury, you need to choose a lawyer who can help you. Before you can choose a great lawyer, you need to ask the right questions. Use the questions you’ve learned here to find someone qualified to help you get the compensation you deserve.

The third-leading cause of death in the US isn’t an infectious disease. While heart disease and cancer take the first two slots, medical errors place third. In fact, more than 250,000 in the US die from medical errors every year. Some reports even claim the number of deaths is as high as 440,000. Did you lose a loved one due to a medical error? Were you a victim of medical malpractice? What is medical malpractice, anyway?

Keep reading to find out! In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about medical malpractice lawsuits. After reading this guide, you’ll know how to recognize if you have a case. 

Then, you can pursue legal action to receive the compensation you deserve. Read on to learn more!

What Is Medical Malpractice?

First, let’s answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind: what is medical malpractice?

It occurs when a healthcare professional injuries a patient due to negligence. This negligence can occur while diagnosing or treating the patient.

Under the law, a case must involve:

  • An injury caused by negligence
  • A violation regarding the standard of care
  • An injury that causes significant damages

A medical professional must meet certain medical standards under the law. Otherwise, they’re not providing acceptable medical treatment. As a patient, you have the right to expect a level of care that meets these standards.

You could establish negligence if your health care provider didn’t meet this standard of care.

However, it’s not enough that the healthcare professional violated the standard of care. You also need to sustain an injury that wouldn’t have occurred if the standard of care was met. 

You’ll need to prove that the healthcare professional’s negligence caused your injury. 

It’s expensive and time-consuming to litigate a medical malpractice case. Your lawyer will need to call on multiple medical experts to build your case and prove negligence.

In order to build your case, you’ll also need to prove the injury led to significant damages. Otherwise, the cost of the case might become more expensive than the initial damages.

Your lawyer can help you prove that the injury caused a disability, pain and suffering, significant medical bills, and loss of income. 

What Causes Medical Malpractice Errors?

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is medical malpractice,” let’s discuss how these mistakes occur.

First, it’s important to choose a qualified medical professional before seeking treatment. A doctor who lacks experience might fail to provide the treatment you need.

For example, a surgeon who hasn’t performed a specific surgery might lack skill. Their incompetence could cause a surgical error.

In other cases, a doctor or surgeon might fail to plan accordingly. For example, preoperative planning and rushing to perform surgery can cause an injury.

Other examples of medical malpractice errors include poor communication, inadequate treatment process, or fatigue. If your doctor is tired, they might prescribe the wrong medication. An exhausted surgeon might mark the wrong area of the body for surgery or knick an artery.

If your healthcare provider is under the effects of drugs or alcohol, they might also make a medical error.

Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

There are different types of medical malpractice cases you might want to pursue.

For example, misdiagnosis is a common issue. In some cases, your symptoms might overlap with more than one disease. It’s your doctor’s responsibility to complete the necessary testing to diagnose your condition.

An inaccurate diagnosis could lead your doctor to prescribe the wrong medication. The wrong medication could cause your condition to deteriorate or lead to harmful side effects. 

Failing to diagnose your condition is dangerous too. A doctor might dismiss your symptoms. If a doctor tells you nothing’s wrong, your condition could get worse over time.

Consider getting a second opinion to make sure you get the treatment you need.

Failure to get informed consent is a form of medical negligence too. Every medical procedure, treatment, and medication comes with its own list of risks and side effects.

Your doctor is supposed to inform you of these risks before providing treatment. Otherwise, you can’t make an informed decision.

Did your doctor fail to get your signed consent for treatment? You could have a medical malpractice case on your hands.

Other types of medical malpractice include:

  • Neglect by hospital staff, which could cause suffering
  • Receiving the wrong treatment or surgery
  • Receiving too many medications

These three factors could cause a loved one to die after a procedure or treatment. You could build a medical malpractice case on their behalf. 

Every year, 7,000 to 9,000 people in the U.S. die as a result of medication error. You could also have a case if you receive the wrong medication for your condition.

Do You Have a Case?

Before you consult a medical malpractice law firm, it helps to know if you have a case.

First, you’ll need to prove you had a patient/doctor relationship with the physician that caused your injuries. You can’t sue a doctor who gave you medical advice at a dinner party.

You’ll also need to prove that their negligence caused an injury that led to damages.

If you think you have a case, call a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice lawsuits. Their previous experience and expertise can help strengthen your case.

Speaking with an attorney instead of filing a lawsuit alone can help you avoid costly errors. Otherwise, a documentation mistake could get your claim declined.

It’s important to consult a lawyer as soon as you think you have a case. Medical malpractice cases have their own statute of limitations based on the state you’re in. If you don’t file your claim fast enough, the courts might deny your claim.

What Is Medical Malpractice? It’s Time to Make Your Case

To recap, what is medical malpractice? A medical malpractice case occurs when a doctor violates the standards of care, injuring a patient.

If you think you have a medical malpractice case on your hands, don’t hesitate to contact a medical malpractice law firm. With their help, you can build your case and get the compensation you deserve. 

Ready to build your case? Contact us today to get started.