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Why and When Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

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August 1, 2023

Healthcare is essential, and we all rely on medical professionals to diagnose, treat, and cure us. We put our faith in these experts to improve our quality of life, and we expect nothing less than competent medical care. Unfortunately, in some cases, medical providers can harm or cause injury through unreasonable errors and improper care, and as a result, you may need to hire a medical malpractice lawyer to protect your rights. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from the accepted standard of care and causes the patient to suffer an injury. In this article, we discuss what you might need to know about medical malpractice lawyers and when you might need one.

At Morris James, our medical malpractice lawyers help people from all walks of life who have been hurt by substandard medical care. We represent medical malpractice victims in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. If you think that you have been hurt by your healthcare provider’s negligence, contact us today, either online or by calling 302.888.6857.

Understanding Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider engages in negligent or reckless medical care, resulting in an injury to the patient. Negligence occurs where a healthcare provider fails to act as a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would in the same or similar circumstances. Some of the common forms of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, birth injuries, and anesthesia errors. However, not all medical malpractice cases are the same, and you should seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect you have been a victim of medical negligence. A medical malpractice attorney can analyze your individual circumstances, with the help of medical experts if necessary, and can advise you on whether or not the failures in your care could be grounds for a legal claim for medical malpractice. If you would like to know more about medical malpractice in general, you might like to read our article, What is medical malpractice? If you have specific questions about your experience with a negligent healthcare provider, contact our medical malpractice attorneys for assistance.

When Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

You may need a medical malpractice lawyer if you have suffered injury or harm due to a healthcare provider's negligence. You should speak to a lawyer if you have suffered severe or life-threatening injuries, prolonged hospitalization, disability, or loss of income due to medical negligence. However, not all medical injuries necessarily constitute medical malpractice. Many medications and medical procedures carry a risk of side effects or injury that will not give rise to a medical malpractice claim. Other injuries can be unexpected but unavoidable, even with the “best” medical care, and might not be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Whether or not your healthcare provider has been negligent is usually a complicated medical and legal question. You may need a medical malpractice lawyer to help you determine the answer to this question, and argue it in your case. In a successful medical malpractice case, a lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your injuries and damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

What Do Medical Malpractice Lawyers Do?

Medical malpractice lawyers specialize in representing victims of medical negligence. They have comprehensive knowledge and experience in medical law, healthcare regulations, and medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice lawyers can investigate your case, gather evidence and medical records, consult with medical experts, and develop a legal strategy to pursue your claim. They will represent you in court or in any negotiations with healthcare providers and insurance companies and work tirelessly to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries. While the medical malpractice lawyers at Morris James represent victims of medical negligence, they also have years of previous experience representing defendant physicians, hospital systems, and insurance companies in medical malpractice cases. With their experience on both sides of a medical malpractice claim, they have a detailed working knowledge of the strategies that defendants use and the potential weaknesses in their case. This allows them to respond effectively to defendants’ positions and advocate to obtain the maximum compensation for victims of medical negligence. 

How to Choose a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

Choosing the right medical malpractice lawyer can be challenging. You should look for a lawyer who focuses his or her practice in medical malpractice cases, and who has extensive experience and a good track record of success in this area. Check online with your state bar to ensure that the lawyer is licensed to practice in your state and does not have any ongoing disciplinary issues. Ask friends or family members for referrals and recommendations, but always do your own research. When you have shortlisted some lawyers, schedule a consultation with them to discuss your case, ask about their fees and payment structure, and understand their approach to medical malpractice litigation. Most medical malpractice lawyers, including our team at Morris James, will not charge you for this preliminary consultation. In addition, most medical malpractice attorneys will take your case on a contingency basis. This means that they only charge you fees for the case if you receive a settlement or compensation award. We discuss what to consider in a medical malpractice attorney in more detail in our article, Choosing the Right Medical Malpractice Lawyer.

Why Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

Hiring the right medical malpractice lawyer can be crucial to securing justice and obtaining compensation after you have been injured by the negligence of your healthcare provider. Dealing with insurance companies and healthcare providers can be overwhelming, and without adequate legal representation, you may not receive fair compensation for your damages. Many unrepresented victims accept undervalued settlement offers from powerful insurance companies early in the process, because they do not know the true value of their claim, or because they are overwhelmed by the situation and want it to be over as quickly as possible. A medical malpractice lawyer can advise you on what your compensation should cover and whether or not a settlement offer does cover these losses. They can also evaluate the strength of your case and your chances of success at trial. With this information and support, you can then make informed decisions about your case and any settlement offers. At Morris James, the majority of our cases are resolved before we get to trial, in a settlement that is acceptable to our client.

Medical malpractice lawyers will also use their skills and the legal process to get more evidence about your medical treatment from the defendant healthcare providers. Many of our clients struggle to get answers to their questions from the hospital, clinic, or physician involved in their care. Your lawyer can help with this, and in doing so can strengthen your case and your chances of success.

How Soon Do You Need to Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

In every state there is a legal deadline for filing a medical malpractice claim. After that deadline has passed, it is very difficult, and usually impossible, to file a lawsuit. Therefore, you need to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to protect your right to file a claim. In Delaware and Pennsylvania, this deadline (the statute of limitations) is usually 2 years from the date of the negligent conduct, while in Maryland, it is 3 years. There are rules and exceptions which can change how the statute of limitations is applied to your particular case. In some medical malpractice cases, the injury and the medical provider’s negligence isn’t known until years after it has happened. In a situation like this, the victim may still be able to file a legal claim even though the injury happened more than 2 or 3 years previously. If you suspect medical malpractice in your or a loved one’s care, you should not delay speaking to a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can determine when the statute of limitations expires in your case, and can file your medical malpractice claim within the legal deadline so that you do not lose your right to compensation.

Medical malpractice is a severe issue that can lead to injury or harm to patients. If you or your loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, you may need a medical malpractice lawyer to advise you on your legal rights and fight for you against the healthcare providers, and their insurance company, that you will likely face in your case. Choosing a skilled and experienced medical malpractice lawyer is critical to your success. They will be your voice and guide during the legal process, advocating for you throughout to help you obtain the justice you deserve.

At Morris James, our attorneys have been standing up for victims since we opened our doors in 1932. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a mistake by a healthcare professional, we may be able to help. Our medical malpractice attorneys are available to talk to you about your rights and the options that you have at this difficult time. Contact us online or call 302.888.6857 to find out more.

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