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How to Win a Medical Malpractice Case

You might find it alarming to know that medical malpractice deaths have been significantly on the rise over the years. In the past 10 years alone, there has been a substantial increase. Medical malpractice deaths rank in the top 3 leading causes of death within the United States as of 2019.

The same research shows that between 250,000 and 400,000 Americans die each year from medical mistakes. Inevitably, the rise in deaths and further injuries directly related to malpractice has led to a rise in cases against such practices.

Each year, millions of dollars are paid out for malpractice cases. But it doesn’t just happen. If you or someone you know has been affected by a medical mistake, it’s important to seek the assistance of an attorney who has the experience and knowledge handling such a case.

Below, you will find some specific tips to consider in efforts to win a medical malpractice case.

Is There Proof of Negligence?

First things first: You can be irritated with a medical outcome, and there not actually be any negligence involved. Unfortunately, there are risks to medical procedures and sometimes those negative outcomes are just part of those risks. Sometimes someone is very sick and despite the best medical care, a bad outcome is the result. Other times, they are directly related to negligence of some kind.

It can be difficult to prove negligence but this is essential to the existence of your case. It will take more than just a note of the occurrences of that day. The attorney may need to review the medical records by all health care providers, including the doctors, but may also need to consult with other experts and be able to illustrate the situation compared to what should have taken place.

There are medical standards of care that must be met but it could take extensive time and research to prove there was negligence. Most doctors will almost never just outright admit to a mistake, so proving negligence is one of the most challenging hurdles.

Convince the Jury

When a malpractice case goes to trial, it will usually be before a jury. This means that there must be evidence and proof to convince the jury of the malpractice in the case. There are many malpractice cases that make it to trial only to see the doctor, nurse or health care provider (clinic, hospital, etc.) win in the end.

The caveat is that there is more than one way for medical treatments to occur. Doctors are provided the right to treat things with their judgment, within the law and required care standards. Jurors know there is a risk to any medical procedure and treatment.

From there, you have to be able to show the jurors whether there was truly negligence that led to a negative outcome. It is the jury’s job to make a decision based on the full review of evidence provided to them. That includes records, expert testimony, testimony of other health care providers involved in your care, x-rays or radiographic films and the overall picture of what happened.

Understand Types of Malpractice

There is more than one type of medical malpractice and it is important to understand the various terms that might lead to a case. While there are several identifiable types, the main claims tend to fall into 1 of 3 categories.

  • Improper treatment
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Failure to make risks known

You hear the stories and they can range pretty greatly. Whether you’ve heard of a tool or instrument being left inside of a person after surgery or you’ve simply heard about adverse effects of a medication, these can all lead back to medical malpractice in some way.

Doctors do have a certain responsibility to work with care and to make patients aware of all of the potential risks.

Be Prepared

You can’t expect to set up a medical malpractice case and have it be successful without being fully prepared. There is a lot to consider and a lot to take in to prepare your case. Understand and familiarize yourself with the rules of such a case in your state as this could have an impact.

Here are some specific things to be aware of as you prepare for a medical malpractice case.

Act Quickly

You cannot wait years to decide to file a malpractice case. Most of the time, these claims should be made fairly quickly after the malpractice occurs. This can vary by state but typically, you have somewhere between 6 months and 2 years to bring your case forward. In Florida there is a 2 year statute of limitations (deadline), and a complex series of statutes that require compliance before any lawsuit can even be filed.

Once your case is outside of the statute of limitations for your state, it will simply be dismissed. It doesn’t matter if you have facts, evidence, and a convincing saga, you must work within the timeframes of the law.

Review Panel Action

In some states, you might be required to submit your medical malpractice case to a review panel. There are specialty malpractice review panels that are led by experts who review all of the data, evidence, testimony, and more. The panel then determines whether they believe there was malpractice involved.

In this case, the findings of the review panel would then be submitted to the court and if the panel determines there is no malpractice, your case may not make it to trial.

Expert Testimonies

It may be incredibly important to your case to acquire expert testimonies. In fact, in some trials, it is required to have an expert testimony. A good malpractice attorney should be able to help with this.

Hire a Qualified Medical Malpractice Attorney

One of the most pressing needs for your malpractice case will be to find a qualified and reliable medical malpractice attorney. Choosing the right attorney could make or break your case. It is essential to find a reputable attorney with experience handling malpractice cases.

Leighton Law is available to help you in your time of need. John Leighton is a board certified lawyer who is nationally known for handling personal injury cases, including medical malpractice claims. John Leighton and Leighton Law partner Max Panoff work very hard to support their clients and have a proven track record of success. They have obtained some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Florida for medical malpractice cases.

Both Mr. Leighton and partner Max Panoff are recognized by Florida SuperLawyers as being among the most skilled and recognized in Miami and Orlando for their handling of accident and malpractice cases. Mr. Leighton has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for over a dozen years and selected for many awards like Florida Legal Elite and “Top Lawyers” in The South Florida Legal Guide.

 

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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