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When Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?


Numerous studies conducted and collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined that, year-over-year, about one-third of all deaths in United States will occur in some sort of hospital or medical clinic setting. If doctors and nurses are there to help people recover from their injuries and illnesses, does this mean that one-third of all deaths could be the grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit? What about the people who go in for treatment and wind up suffering from worsening conditions? Can they sue for poor treatment and negligence?

Maybe and maybe not are the best answers you can hope to find. Medical malpractice is a tricky legal arena that not many attorneys want to enter, even when they have a strong case from day one. Yes, doctors, nurses, surgeons, etc. are supposed to do their best to help their patients but, no, they aren’t always to blame when something goes wrong. If that was the case, no one would ever join the medical profession for fear of getting sued into the ground. So when do you have a medical malpractice case?

In order to prove medical malpractice led to an injury, worsening symptoms, or death, three things must usually be established:

  1. You and the doctor had an established doctor-patient relationship.
  2. The doctor in said relationship deviated from accepted practice.
  3. The deviation of accepted practice caused your injury.

If you have those three pieces in place, you probably have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. But you are now faced with another question, “Should I file a medical malpractice lawsuit?”

Uphill Battles & Minimizing the Risks

Medical malpractice lawsuits do not favor the injured party from the get-go. Hospitals and clinics are often backed by powerful healthcare organizations and groups with teams of attorneys at the ready. Taking a case to litigation is certainly going to be a challenge but not necessarily an impossible one.

Doctors also have the unique ability to refuse to settle claims filed against their practice. If the doctor’s insurance company advises them to settle because A) you deserve the win or B) it would just be easier, the doctor can still say no in order to try to protect their name and practice. Even what would have been a fast closure in most other injury cases can therefore get dragged into litigation if it is a medical malpractice claim.

There is also one more concern many people seem to have when thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit: the cost. The duration and challenges involved in the average medical malpractice will hike up the cost of litigation. If your injury was relatively minor and has not personally costed you tens of thousands of dollars, any amount you win might be immediately off-set by court costs and attorney fees.

Unless you choose to work with a personal injury lawyer who works for contingency fees, like our Columbus medical malpractice team at Rourke and Blumenthal LLC. We always offer our clients contingency fee agreements, which state that we do not collect attorney fees unless we win your case. When we do win a settlement or verdict, we are paid out of a percentage of the winnings, so you never pay out-of-pocket or an amount that is greater than what you can afford. With us fighting on your behalf, you can minimize the risk to you while still tenaciously pursuing the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a FREE case evaluation.

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