Medical Malpractice FAQ’s from Leading Attorneys
Medical malpractice refers to negligence on the part of medical professional or institution which causes injury or illness to a patient. To learn more about medical malpractice, view our medical malpractice FAQ’s below.
FAQ’s For Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Annapolis and surrounding counties
- Are nursing home cases considered malpractice?
- Can a case be reopened after it is settled?
- Can I sue my doctor for releasing my records to my employer?
- Can I file malpractice against someone other than a doctor?
- Can I sue for what might have happened?
- Do most cases go to trial?
- How can I afford to hire an attorney to represent me?
- How can I find out if a doctor has been previously sued for malpractice?
- Is a misdiagnosis malpractice?
- Is there a minimum or maximum amount that can be recovered?
- What does “preponderance of evidence” mean?
- What expenses are generally paid by a settlement for a malpractice case?
- What is a normal settlement amount?
- What is “contributory negligence”?
- What is “informed consent?”
- What is “subrogation”?
- What’s the medical malpractice “standard of care”?
- When should I settle my case?
- Why do I have to have an expert establish that I was harmed?
What are the requirements in order to proceed in a malpractice case?
For a medical malpractice case to proceed, you must first contact the medical professional where the incident of malpractice occurred. Medical offices are most often willing to cooperate and fill out necessary paperwork (they will also often offer services to remedy the problem). It is also advisable to contact the relevant medical licensing board, and a malpractice legal team to determine how long you have to file a claim. It is also necessary to schedule a medical examination to determine if your case has merit.
Does the value of my case change from county to county in Maryland or Virginia?
The value of your case can change depending on the jurisdiction, but there is no definitive number based on county. One way to get an idea of the potential value of your case is to look at similar cases in the same jurisdiction.
How long does it take to review a case?
A malpractice case typically takes anywhere from 18 months to 2 years from the time the suit is filed until trial. Many cases are settled out of court before trial begins.
How long is trial?
Depending upon the complexity of a given case and the number of witnesses and parties involved, it can take an experienced medical malpractice attorney anywhere from hours to weeks to present a case.
What is my case worth?
The value of a case is dependent on the parties involved and the extent of injuries and losses on the part of the victim. To get an idea of the potential value of your case, look at similar cases in the same jurisdiction, then contact us to review your circumstances
If a procedure has a known risk, can I recover?
The short answer is yes – if it can be found that the medical professional responsible for the procedure acted with negligence.
Do I have to cover any expense or fees?
At Hyatt & Weber, we offer free initial consultations (link to Contact Us page) to determine if your case constitutes medical malpractice and has a chance of succeeding in court. If we choose to represent you, we will not charge a fee unless you win the case.
Do I need an expert to testify on my behalf in a medical malpractice case?
Since the facts of a malpractice case are usually too complex for non-doctors alone to determine liability, nearly all medical malpractice cases require testimony from a medical expert.
Do I have a claim if a doctor does not inform me of known risks of a particular procedure?
Yes. In this case, the doctor is acting negligently and is violation of “informed consent,” and may be sued for medical malpractice.
Is there a cap to economic recovery to my case?
Caps on recovery are determined on a case-by-case basis, though settlement numbers can be accurately estimated by looking at similar cases in the same jurisdiction.
Are nursing home cases considered malpractice?
Possibly. It depends on what was done or not done. Many states have adopted special procedures and remedies for nursing home issues. Some have even adopted a special “bill of rights” for nursing home residents.
Can a case be reopened after it is settled?
Generally, no. Whenever you settle a case, you generally sign a release that would forever keep you from pursuing the claim again.
Can I sue my doctor for releasing my records to my employer?
Possibly. Many employers can legally review their employees’ medical records covered by the company’s health plan, which sometimes includes hospital records and previous worker’s compensation claims.
Can I file malpractice against someone other than a doctor?
A medical malpractice suit can be lodged against any individual or entity who provides health care. This would include, for example, doctors, nurses, technicians, physical therapists and optometrists.
Can I sue for what might have happened?
While it is distressing to learn that a medical procedure may have resulted in a very undesirable outcome such as permanent injury or even death, it’s not generally feasible to sue for what “might” have happened, particularly if there was not any negligence.
Do most cases go to trial?
Malpractice claims tend to be a fight to the death and are settled less often than most other cases, which also means they can take more time and rack up more expenses.
How can I afford to hire an attorney to represent me?
Most law firms will accept medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to pay attorney fees unless the case is settled favorably. You generally do have to pay expenses associated with your case, regardless of whether you win or lose.
How can I find out if a doctor has been previously sued for malpractice?
Check with your state medical licensing board to see if they have, and will, release information on the doctor.
Is a misdiagnosis malpractice?
Not necessarily. Medicine is not an exact science and errors in diagnosis can be made. Law does not require doctors to be right all the time but rather that their actions meet the standard of care set out by state statutes, as well as what a reasonable doctor would do in the same situation.
Is there a minimum or maximum amount that can be recovered?
No. This depends on injury and extent of damages. There are no parameters, unless dictated by state statute.
What does “preponderance of evidence” mean?
Preponderance of evidence is evidence that is more convincing than the evidence that is offered in opposition. It is whatever is more probable than not or has a greater weight.
What expenses are generally paid by a settlement for a malpractice case?
Generally, state statutes control what a malpractice settlement takes into consideration. The following are commonly covered:
- Past, present and future medical expenses for treatment of the injury caused by the medical malpractice
- Other financial damages and economic damages that the malpractice caused
- Compensation for pain and suffering
What is a normal settlement amount?
There is no normal or set amount in recovering damages from medical malpractice. Every case and injury is different. There are many nuances that determine a reasonable settlement amount, such as:
- Impact the injury has on earning capacity
- Impact the injury has on life functions
- How the jury perceives the injured party
- The atmosphere in the geographic area concerning medical malpractice
- Only an attorney can give you an idea of what type of settlement you might be entitled to
What is “contributory negligence”?
Contributory negligence is an injured person’s failure to exercise due care, which contributed to the injury. One example of contributory negligence in a failure-to-diagnose case would be if a doctor recommends that the patient undergo a screening exam for cancer and the patient neglects to follow through with the doctor’s instructions, only to be diagnosed with cancer later.
What is “informed consent”?
When a doctor is going to perform a procedure, he or she is required to advise the patient of the procedure that is going to be performed as well as all the possible consequences. This is referred to as “informed consent.” If the doctor doesn’t do this, it might lead to a medical malpractice case. There are some instances where a doctor isn’t required to obtain informed consent, such as a case where the patient is unconscious, a case where a family member can’t be reached in an emergency, or if there isn’t a living will.
What is “subrogation”?
Subrogation is a legal concept that allows someone who covers the cost of your injuries, generally an insurance company, to eventually recover those payments from the person determined legally liable for your injury.
What’s the medical malpractice “standard of care”?
While state law generally determines how negligence is defined, the “standard of care” is typically defined by the medical community. It’s not the measure of what constitutes optimum care or even the measure of what an expert thinks should have been done in hindsight. The issue is whether any reasonable physician could have done what the doctor in question did, based on the available information. Help defining “acceptable practice” can come from a medical expert’s experience, medical texts, literature and publications from groups such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. However, in most cases the standard of care the doctor deviated from must be established at trial by expert testimony.
When should I settle my case?
If you receive a settlement offer, you should consider it with the advice and guidance of your attorney.
Why do I have to have an expert establish that I was harmed?
In order to prevail in a medical malpractice case, you must prove that the standard of care wasn’t followed. The courts have come to recognize experts with experience, training and an understanding of the level of care associated with a particular medical procedure as being able to attest to or gauge the standard of care provided.
If you have other questions about medical malpractice, our attorneys would be happy to meet with you at no cost. Call our office at (866) 590-8719 to schedule a consultation.
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