If you follow the news, you have a pretty good idea how much money there is in medical malpractice lawsuits. Multi-million dollar judgments and settlements make headlines, after all, and it’s no surprise that doctors normally pay tens of thousands of dollars a year in malpractice insurance premiums. And millions more to their medical malpractice lawyers. So you might assume that medical malpractice lawsuits are a plaintiff’s shortcut to fabulous riches, or at least a reliable way for victims of negligence to get their lives back on track.
But you’d be wrong.
The splashy headlines hide a more sober reality. The truth is that, for a variety of reasons, the vast majority of medical malpractice victims have no recourse to the legal system to set things right. The biggest hurdle for victims is, ironically, the huge amount of money that flows from these cases. How does that compute?
How Do You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Let’s say you’re a victim of clear-cut malpractice. You paid $20,000 for cosmetic surgery and the surgeon forgot to remove the sponge before sewing you up, leading to infection, repeated surgery, and permanent scarring. It’s an open-and-shut case. You set up an appointment at your local law office and meet with a highly regarded, experienced, and recommended lawyer. He looks over your records, asks a few questions, and politely declines. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think we have a case here. Best of luck in the future.”
Before you lose your temper, take the time to understand why the lawyer refused. He’s not a bad guy, but he does need to make a living, while at the same time serving his clients’ interests. And your case won’t make him or you any money. Neither of you will ever see a dime.
What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?
Successfully filing (let’s not even talk about winning yet) medical malpractice lawsuits requires huge investments of time and resources. The doctor’s insurance is going to fight it tooth and nail. Unlike other personal injury cases, medical malpractice lawsuits won’t even get off the ground without a huge amount of professionally-prepared expert evidence. Your lawyer is going to have to pay other doctors and professionals thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands) of dollars for depositions. He needs to prove two things if your case is to be considered medical malpractice:
- That the defendant’s actions were negligent and contrary to the accepted standard of care.
- That the injury you suffered was directly caused by the above negligence and not by something or someone else.
After that, he needs to set a dollar amount for damages. The law does not allow for an arbitrary amount. It needs to be based on real world values, including lost income and the impact on you and your family. So if you were unable to work for a year, and your income is $40,000, compare the value of the lawsuit to a similar case for a victim who makes half a million. No comparison, right? And if your income is affected for the rest of your life, the number of years left until retirement, as well as the number of dependents, will also affect the value of the case.
Is Your Attorney Working on Contingency?
Now consider that your lawyer is working on a contingency basis. That means that he’s paying for the whole case out of his pocket. He will only make as a percentage of your payout in the event you win. If the payout is — let’s say — $100,000, but the case costs $120,000 to bring to court, that means you get nothing. And your lawyer loses $20,000. In such a situation, you have no case.
Think you’re alone? Numbers are notoriously hard to come by, but it seems like between three quarters and nine tenths of legitimate medical malpractice victims are unable to get a lawyer to represent them just because their case isn’t “worth it.”
Before even speaking to a malpractice attorney, therefore, concentrate first on what is achievable now. You paid for a procedure that not only didn’t succeed, it caused damage. You deserve your money back. And the quickest path to recovering your funds is through a chargeback.
Challenging medical professionals can be very complex and mistakes can cost you. MyChargeBack will analyze your case and assist you throughout the entire recovery process. So if you have been victimized by any type of medical malpractice, consult with our financial services experts at MyChargeBack to see if there is a chargeback strategy that is appropriate for your case.