How Hard is it to Sue a Doctor for Medical Malpractice?
Winning a medical malpractice case against a doctor is difficult. According to an NCBI study, doctors consistently win 50% of the medical malpractice cases that physician reviewers have concluded they should lose. Doctors also win 70% to 80% of medical malpractice cases with ambiguous or unclear evidence of negligence. This shows that there are variables that systematically favor doctors over injured patients in medical malpractice cases.
Another study showed that the rate of medical malpractice claims that receive some type of payout has declined, dropping approximately 56% between 1992 and 2014. If you are wondering whether it is worth pursuing a medical malpractice claim, keep in mind that the average payout has increased. Between 1992 and 1996, the payout for a malpractice claim averaged $287,000. Between 2009-2014, the average claim for a successful malpractice claim rose 23% to $353,000.
The Average Medical Malpractice Payout Varies Among Specialties
Malpractice payouts vary among specialties. Payouts for medical malpractice claims increase for specialists. For example, claims against pathologists are significantly higher than claims against general practitioners, on average. Analyzing trends in medical malpractice claims payouts can be helpful, but it is important to remember that every medical malpractice claim is unique.
Whether a general practice lawyer or specialist caused your injuries, speaking with a medical malpractice lawyer will help you get a better idea of your case’s likelihood of success. It is impossible to predict whether your case will be successful, but the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Bishop Law Group have extensive experience. We will evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options.
Understanding the Difficulty of Medical Malpractice Cases
What makes obtaining compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit so difficult? In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you, as the plaintiff, will need to provide substantial evidence to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused your injuries. Most medical malpractice lawsuits are heavily evidence-based, requiring a significant discovery process in which the plaintiff’s lawyer gathers records and deposes witnesses. As the plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to prove the following four elements:
- The Doctor-Patient Relationship: You will need to show that you were in a doctor-patient relationship with the defendant. In other words, you will need to provide evidence that you work with the doctor, and they agreed to care for your injury or illness. A doctor who is not directly involved in your medical treatment will not be liable for your injuries. Doctors and medical professionals owe a legal duty to their patients.
- Negligent Behavior: You also need to show that your doctor acted negligently or recklessly. Negligence happens when your doctor fails to provide you with a reasonable standard of care. You will need to provide evidence and expert witness testimony showing that any other reasonable and competent medical provider would have acted differently under similar circumstances.
- Causation: Causation is one of the most critical elements in a negligence case. You will need to use evidence that shows the doctor’s negligence directly caused you additional injury, illness, or pain. You also need to show that your original reason for seeking treatment did not lead to your injuries. In other words, the doctor may try to argue that you would have been injured anyway because of your initial illness or injuries. You will need to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused your injury or for your injury to become worse.
- Injuries: To succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to show that the injuries caused you a specific type of harm. For example, you will need to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused you physical harm. You can also recover compensation for the emotional and financial consequences of your doctor’s negligence.
Obtaining Evidence for Your Case
Proving all of these elements involves investigating your claim and gathering evidence. The discovery process is often complicated and expensive. During the discovery process, your legal team will gather medical records, speak to experts, and take depositions of the parties and witnesses involved. You will probably need to rely on expert testimony from other doctors or medical providers in a similar field. These expert witnesses will explain the standard of care in the defendant’s medical practice area to show that the doctor breached it, causing your injuries.
Gathering all of this detailed information is a time-consuming process, and you may not have access to all the witnesses and records you need. We recommend contacting a medical malpractice doctor as soon as possible after your accident due to the short amount of time you have to gather evidence. Your malpractice attorney will need time to investigate your case and ensure that you have a decent chance of success based on the evidence. The longer you wait, the harder it is to gather evidence supporting your claim. Witnesses may lose their memories of the event, and you may lose the evidence you need.
How Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?
Winning a medical malpractice case is not easy. The burden of proof is on the injured patient, and many doctors have insurance that provides them with excellent legal counsel. However, it is worth discussing your case with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. At Bishop Law Group, we have extensive experience representing clients in medical malpractice cases. We are prepared to use our skills and knowledge to work with you to help you and your loved ones recover the compensation you deserve.
If a doctor’s negligence has injured you or your loved one, we recommend scheduling a free initial consultation with our law firm. We will discuss your case with you and answer questions you have about the medical malpractice process. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation to learn more about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
About Brian Bishop
Brian Bishop started the Bishop Law Group in October 2018. Mr. Bishop is an active member of Maryland Association of Justice, The American Association of Justice, The Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. Mr. Bishop has received a nationally ranked Top 40 Under 40 Attorney award since 2017. Mr. Bishop has also been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named Brian Bishop as one of The 10 Best Attorneys for Outstanding Client Services.