My name is Arlene, and two years ago, I was involved in a car accident that wasn't my fault. I had some injuries that required a hospital stay, and I was unable to return to work for several weeks. I didn't know how I was going to pay my bills, and it was very stressful for me. My friend told me that I needed to hire an accident and personal injury attorney so I could recover my lost wages and medical costs. I was so glad that I hired the attorney, and my stress level immediately went down. Through the attorney, I was able to get a settlement, and I was no longer in financial trouble. I am writing this blog to let everyone know the importance of hiring an attorney after an accident. It's my wish that this blog will help others who are in similar situations.
Pursuing a case against a medical practitioner or organization can be a very involved process, often taking years before arriving at a settlement. For this reason, it's common for a plaintiff to seek the support of a medical negligence attorney. It's also important as you move forward with a claim to understand how such a case may be different from a more traditional type of personal injury claim.
Discovery of a Problem
In most states, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice allows patients between two and six years to submit their initial filings. That makes it a little trickier than an auto accident case, for example, is what is called the "discovery rule."
If you have injuries from a motor vehicle incident, you have a pretty good idea of when you were hurt, and this makes it easy to tell the court whether or not you've met the deadline for filing a claim. Conversely, with a medical negligence case, it might be years before you discover that anything may be wrong. For example, a woman who has been rendered infertile by the failures of her gynecologist may not discover the infertility until she has been through years of fertility therapy.
This is one of the most common ways for an insurance carrier or a medical practice to try to refute a claim. They simply challenge when the problem was discovered.
Medical malpractice cases are somewhat strange in the sense that initial claims tend to be fairly successful, but cases that go to trial often aren't. More than 90 percent of claims will be settled without going to court. The problem for patients is that if an insurance carrier and doctor elect to take the matter to trial, the odds start to tilt in their favor. Even in cases with strong evidence, the plaintiff only prevails about 50 percent of the time. In cases with weak evidence, patients may only win about 10 percent to 20 percent of the time.
Settlements and Judgments
The average settlement obtained by a medical negligence attorney is $425,000, and the average jury judgment attained is over one million. For reference, the average injury case will deliver less than $30,000 to the plaintiff. According to research done by the New England Journal of Medicine, the average time for a medical malpractice case to be closed was five years, but cases with multiple responsible parties may run longer.
For help with your case, contact a medical negligence attorney.