Medical malpractice lawsuits get so much media attention that many people think that doctors spend hours a week in court defending themselves. The truth is that a very small percentage of medical malpractice cases ever get to court. Most cases are settled long before court even becomes an option, and most settlements are not the millions of dollars you hear and read about.
Many states have limits set on how much a patient can be awarded in a medical malpractice case, and it is not as easy to win a medical malpractice case as you may think. If you do not have an experienced medical malpractice attorney, then your chances of winning are very small. Before you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are some questions your attorney will need to answer to help you decide if a lawsuit is the right approach.
Sometimes people try to file medical malpractice lawsuits because they did not like the treatment they got or their doctor had a bad bedside manner. These types of cases never win and they are a waste of your time and money. Most experienced attorneys would not even take cases like this because they know the case cannot be won. In order for you to have a real medical malpractice lawsuit, your doctor must be negligent and that negligence has to have caused you harm.
Let's say that you have a sore arm and you just happen to overhear a doctor talking about that very problem while you are out for dinner. You hear the doctor give their companion advice, so you decide to take that advice for yourself. After the advice fails to help, you track down the doctor and try to sue him for malpractice. For their to be malpractice, there must be a direct doctor-patient relationship and your doctor must be treating you.
When you talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney about your issue, they will ask you if what the doctor did directly resulted in your problem. This is the point where your attorney will have you go to another attorney to prove that there is a direct relationship between doctor negligence and medical issues. If there is no direct relationship, then there will be no medical malpractice lawsuit.
For some people, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is a way of putting a negligent doctor out of business so that doctor cannot hurt anyone else. That is a noble cause, but it is rarely effective. As we mentioned earlier, most medical malpractice lawsuits end in a settlement and the ones that go to trial are usually won by the doctor. If your goal is to help protect others, then a medical malpractice lawsuit is not the right answer.
Filing and winning a medical malpractice lawsuit is not as easy as it looks. While there are billions of dollars paid out every year in medical malpractice cases, there are also thousands of cases to share in those settlements. You should consult with an experienced attorney before filing your lawsuit to make sure that filing the suit is even a good idea and will accomplish your goals.