If you were seriously injured due to hospital negligence, read these 5 frequently asked medical malpractice questions. Then, give us a call.
1) What should I look for when choosing a medical malpractice attorney?
One increasingly common type of case that we encounter is for medical malpractice. A medical malpractice case involves a doctor or nurse who has breached the standard of care for their industry and in doing so, injured a patient. It’s extremely important to make sure when hiring a medical malpractice attorney that you have someone who has extensive experience with these types of cases. They are very difficult to work up and require a lot of expert witnesses to make your case. You want to make sure that you have an attorney who has demonstrated his or her ability to take these cases and achieve successful results.
Another issue that you want to make sure you address is to make sure you have an attorney that knows the insurance system, how it works and how to get the best possible result for you. I spent many years representing insurance companies before switching sides to begin representing injured individuals in personal injury cases. I have defended medical malpractice cases. Now, I can put the knowledge I have of those types of cases to use for my clients to help them achieve the best possible result.
Finally, always make sure that you have an attorney who has demonstrated that he or she will take cases all the way through to trial when necessary. Most cases settle before trial, but in some instances insurance companies will not issue fair offers and an attorney is required to take a case to trial. Unfortunately, there are a lot of attorneys around who simply will not go to trial. These attorneys are never going to get the best possible offers and resolutions for their clients because the insurance company know that they’re simply going to take whatever offer they can get, even if it’s not a fair one.
2) What mistakes should I avoid when filing a medical malpractice claim?
It’s important to go back and make sure you have records documenting what has occurred. You may or may not feel comfortable going back to the same doctor who has caused the harm, so use your judgment of whether you think you should go back to that doctor or go to an independent doctor. It’s very important to make sure you are getting treatment and you’re documenting that something went wrong as a result of your medical treatment.
Also, we find that people have waited too long in medical malpractices cases to seek legal representation and get the right attorney. Medical malpractice cases are cases where evidence can tend to disappear quickly, especially when medical devices are involved. It’s important that you get the right attorney involved so that evidence can be preserved, and you will have the ability to present that case later as you develop the evidence. Make sure you hire an attorney who knows how to handle medical malpractice cases and can take those cases all the way through trial with expert witnesses, if necessary.
3) How much does it cost to hire a medical malpractice lawyer?
One of the important things that you need to know about personal injury cases is that we handle these matters on a contingent fee basis. That means that we are compensated based on a percentage of the recovery in a case, whether it’s a car wreck case, a medical malpractice type of case, or any other type of case. You’re never required to pay money out of your own pocket for a personal injury lawyer such as myself, so the cost to you is only a percentage of the recovery. If there’s no recovery, then you don’t own anything. This is a portion of the risk that the attorney has to take on while we carefully evaluate our cases.
The great thing about this is that someone who has a medical malpractice case or thinks they have a medical malpractice case will always have access to an attorney to evaluate that claim and let them know whether or not it is viable.
4) Do most medical malpractice cases go to trial or do they settle before trial?
As with any other type of personal injury case, there’s no way to know early on in the claim whether it will go to trial. Whether a case goes to trial is largely driven by how reasonable or unreasonable the insurance company is going to be with regards to compensation. If an insurance company is not going to be reasonable with regards to the amount of compensation that’s due, we often have to take the case to trial and put it before a jury to obtain compensation. Insurance companies do everything they can to keep as much of their money as possible. In a lot of situations, they make it as difficult as possible, which means that you have to go to trial. As with any other type of claim, however, the vast majority of claims get resolved and are settled before going to trial.
5) How much is my medical malpractice claim worth?
First, if you’re able to physically recover from whatever damage you’ve suffered, that case has a lot less value to it than a case where you’ve suffered a permanent injury. We have to see what the extent of your recovery is before we even begin to think of what the value of the case may be.
Under Georgia law, the things you’re entitled to recover when you’re injured due to the negligence of another are broken down into two categories. The first one is called special damages. This is lost income and medical expenses. It’s easy to determine the value of those things.
The harder one to determine is non-economic damages. These are things like the amount of pain and suffering you’ve had over a given period, or the amount of pain and suffering you may have in the future, things such as the loss of ability to live your life the way you want to. For example, if you played a lot of tennis and now you can no longer play tennis ever again because of this injury, that’s a life pleasure that you don’t get to experience anymore. You’re entitled to compensation for those things.
In working through these types of claims, we have to look at all the different variables in addition to the liability aspect. There are not a lot of clear liability medical malpractice claims. Doctors always tend to claim that what they did was the right thing. They’re always able to go out and find experts that will say most anything they want them to say for a price. You have to evaluate the strength of your claim in addition to how much insurance coverage they have, which for doctors is usually fairly substantial.
The best thing to do if you think you have been injured due to the negligence of a doctor or nurse is to see a personal injury attorney right away to make sure that you can present your case in the most effective way possible.
Were you or a loved one seriously injured due to hospital negligence in Georgia and have questions?
After reading these 5 frequently asked medical malpractice questions, contact our experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at The Gunnels Law Firm today to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation.
Let our experience work for you.
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