What kind of lawyer do I need to file a medical malpractice claim?
Medical negligence is frighteningly common. In fact, research has shown that medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. If you are the victim of a medical error by a healthcare provider, you need to find a specialized medical malpractice lawyer.
What is a medical malpractice attorney?
A medical malpractice lawyer is someone who represents the victims of medical negligence and has experience litigating claims that arise out of the negligence of a healthcare provider. A medical malpractice attorney not only has experience in the courtroom litigating a case in a civil trial, but also is experienced negotiating with medical malpractice insurance carriers to obtain a settlement prior to trial.
If you are the victim of a medical error by a healthcare provider, you need to find a medical negligence lawyer who is experienced in and capable of presenting complex medical evidence to a judge or jury in a way that someone without a medical degree can understand. Thus, a medical malpractice attorney needs to not only be familiar with the law and legal requirements for filing a medical malpractice claim, but also needs to be well-versed in understanding the medicine behind your claim. They will work in consultation with medical experts to present the necessary evidence at trial required to prove your medical malpractice claim.
What constitutes medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is professional negligence by a health care provider that results in a civil (and sometimes even criminal) claim.
There are four elements of a medical malpractice claim:
- A duty of care is owed by the health care provider to a patient
- The health care provider fails to fulfill their obligations by providing services that are below the standard of care. This means the care they provided is not at the level that a similarly-trained professional would have offered under the same circumstances.
- The health care provider’s services directly caused the patient to experience harm.
- The patient incurred damages as a result of this harm.
Medical malpractice or medical negligence takes many forms including failure to diagnose, botched treatment, delayed diagnosis, failure to get informed consent, wrong-site surgeries, medication errors, birth injuries and negligent omissions such as failing to order a specific test or to deliver your medical results in a timely manner.
When is medical malpractice criminal?
In most cases, medical malpractice results in a civil claim but not a criminal case. This is because most doctors try to protect the health of their patients and do not intentionally act to harm their patients. However, in rare instances, a medical malpractice case warrants a criminal charge. If the district attorney or prosecutor can prove that the health care provider has intentionally caused harm or acted recklessly then the state can file criminal charges. For example, if a health care provider is practicing beyond the scope of their license or performs a surgery under the influence of alcohol or drugs this could amount to criminal charges.
When do I file a medical malpractice claim?
If you are the victim of a medical error by a healthcare provider, you need to understand that there is a statute of limitations that governs how long you have to file a civil lawsuit. In North Carolina, you typically have 3 years from the date of the medical negligence to file your claim. If the negligence results in a death, then you only have 2 years from the alleged negligence to file your claim.
How Do I Find A Medical Malpractice Attorney?
There are a number of lawyers that specialize in medical malpractice cases. The trick is to find one that is reputable, honest, and competent. A few suggestions for finding and identifying one include the following:
- Ask people you trust for referrals. If you have worked with a lawyer on any legal matters before, they can be a great reference and you should start by asking them for referrals. The lawyers that you already know and trust may have colleagues they can point you to who excel in the field of medical malpractice. Friends, family and others in your network may also know of lawyers who have successfully handled medical negligence claims. Finally, you can also consult professional groups or organizations, including the state bar association for a list of medical malpractice attorneys.
- Make sure you hire a lawyer who has handled medical malpractice cases before. Medical malpractice cases involve complex issues that an experienced lawyer who is familiar with both the medicine and the law is best suited to handle. Many states require that your medical malpractice claim be certified by an expert before you can file a lawsuit. You want to be sure your attorney understands the law and procedural requirements of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In addition, you want to hire an attorney who has experience negotiating with medical malpractice insurers to settle claims out of court, but is also prepared to go to trial if necessary.
- Make sure you understand the fee structure for your specific attorney. Most medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingent fee basis. This means that their fees are conditional upon a successful outcome to your case. Typically, this results in you paying your lawyer a percentage of the money you recover when you enter into a contingent fee agreement.
- Keep track of additional legal expenses. There are significant legal costs incurred during the process of pursuing a medical malpractice claim. These costs are often higher than with other kinds of injury claims, as the results of these cases rely heavily on expert testimony. These experts often charge fees to review your records and consult on your case.Some firms and lawyers require you to pay these costs, like expert fees and attorney travel expenses, regardless of whether you win your case or not. So, make certain you’re aware of the rules and policies before choosing a medical negligence lawyer. Here at Miller Law Group, clients do not pay unless we obtain a monetary recovery for you.
Who pays for the medical malpractice lawsuit? Do medical malpractice attorneys get paid on contingency?
Most medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingent fee basis. This means that their fees are conditional upon a successful outcome to your case. Typically, you pay a lawyer a percentage of the money you recover when you enter into a contingent fee agreement.
You also need to be aware that there are significant legal costs incurred during the process of pursuing a medical malpractice claim. These costs are often higher than with other kinds of injury claims because malpractice cases rely heavily on expert testimony and experts charge fees to review your records and consult on your case.
Some firms and lawyers require you to pay actual costs, like expert fees and attorney travel expenses, even if you don’t win your case. So, make certain you’re aware of the rules and policies before choosing a medical negligence lawyer. Here at Miller Law Group, clients do not pay unless we obtain a monetary recovery for you.
Don’t Suffer in Silence – Connect with Attorneys Who Care
If you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice, please know that you are not alone. At Miller Law Group, we believe that every victim deserves justice, and we will work hard to ensure that your losses are acknowledged and properly compensated. So if you’re looking for a team who is ready to support you, look no further than Miller Law Group. Get in touch with us today!