What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is medical negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise due care under the circumstances then and there existing, which proximately cause injury to another. In more simple language, medical negligence is the failure of a person or persons in the medical profession to act within the standard of care expected by their professional colleagues. Generally speaking, medical negligence is proven by showing that medical textbook instruction was violated in the performance of a medical procedure, and that a person suffered harm because of the violation.

What is a viable Medical Malpractice/Negligence case?

There is a vast difference between what constitutes medical malpractice versus what constitutes a viable medical negligence case. Most law firms, which seriously practice in the medical malpractice arena of necessity must reject at least 95 out of every 100 cases that are presented to the law firm. Why is there such a high percentage of rejections? Because, because because!!! A violation of a standard of care is not translatable in most instances into a legal cause of action. The average cost of bringing a medical negligence case to trial is $100,000 or more. That does not include attorney fees. Attorneys take malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis, in which the law firm receives usually 40% of the proceeds and the client receives 60%. But, in addition to the proceeds there are costs of the case, i.e., the cost of hiring medical experts to testify, the cost of taking depositions, the cost of trial preparation, etc. Costs add up quickly and if a jury awards little or nothing, a client is responsible for the costs. (Even so, a law firm also loses considerable money in taking a case that is not successful.)

Medical negligence cases are not like automobile accident cases in which a person is injured and the law firm is able to immediately begin negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. In medical negligence cases, even if the medical practitioner wants to settle, the insurance company may take the case to trial if an expected jury award is lower than the expected costs of the case. Washington state evidentiary rules do not allow plaintiffs’ attorneys to let the jury know that $100,000 or more in costs were expended in preparation of the case, or what attorney fee arrangements have been made. So, a jury might award a plaintiff $75,000 and think they have done the plaintiff a good service. In actuality, with fees and costs both the attorney and the plaintiff lose money. That is why law firms are very cautious in determining viability of a medical malpractice case, before accepting the case.

What are some common types of Medical Malpractice cases?

Cerebral palsy cases in newborn children are viewed diligently by law firms. Juries are sympathetic to the plight of babies and children. Medical malpractice cases which result in lifelong injury are often more viable than cases is in which wrongful death is alleged. People who lose their profession because of medical negligence generally have a better chance of substantial recovery than those who suffer primarily general damages, i.e., pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, etc. It is always good to call a law firm to receive a first impression opinion of your medical negligence case. Phone calls cost nothing, and most law firms are willing to give a snapshot view of your case on the information presented.