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Medical Malpractice - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, is simply any negligent conduct by a doctor, hospital, or other health care provider which causes injury. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. Reasonable care, on the part of a doctor, hospital, or health care provider, is that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by similar and reasonably careful physicians.

What is a standard of care?

Standards of care are set by the medical community and are based upon what a reasonable and prudent medical professional would do in a given medical situation. Standards of care are usually tied to specific medical procedures. They do not necessarily correspond to what a medical professional should ideally have done in hindsight.

Who can file a medical malpractice claim?

Anyone who has been directly injured by the negligence of a medical professional has a right to file a medical malpractice claim. If a child has suffered an injury, the child's guardians or family members may file a claim. In the event of wrongful death, the deceased's dependents or beneficiaries may be eligible to file a claim.

Do I need my medical records?

Yes. It is imperative that the patient obtain a copy of his or her medical records from the medical care provider. Patients have a legal right to do so. Although our personal injury attorneys can obtain the records for the patient, it is better that the patient do it on his or her own. An attorney's request may signal to the medical care provider that a medical malpractice claim is being made and prompt him or her to omit portions of the record.

How can I find out if I have a case?

Medical malpractice cases are complex and require extensive legal and medical knowledge to establish that mistakes were made. First, the attorney must establish that your case was filed before expiring under the statute of limitations. Then the attorney must review all medical records to ensure that the facts support the claim. A medical expert will then examine the information to establish a deviation from the relevant standard of care caused the injury. If these facts can be established, then you have a case. Serving all of New York, our medical malpractice lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to evaluate your claim so you can decide if your case if worth pursuing.

What is a statute of limitations?

A statute of limitations determines how long a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit. For medical malpractice in the state of New York, plaintiffs have two years to file a suit from the time the injury was or should have been discovered, though the suit must also be filed within four years of the negligent act. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals who think they may have a medical malpractice claim seek legal advice as soon as possible. While victims of medical malpractice have a legal right to be compensated for their injuries, they forfeit that right if they do not file their claims within the period of time stipulated by the statute of limitations.

Have I waived my rights if I signed a consent form?

No. Signing a consent form does not give medical professionals license to perform negligent acts. A consent form only states that you understand the normal risks associated with a given procedure.

What kind of settlement can I expect if I win?

Every case is unique and there is no standard amount of money you can receive in a medical malpractice settlement. The nature of the negligent act, the circumstances surrounding it, and the extent of the resultant injury are all factors that help determine the amount of your settlement. You can discuss the projected amount of compensation you may receive for your injuries with the experienced medical malpractice lawyers of HoganWillig.

How long will my case take?

The average time from start to finish is about two years. Occasionally, a case can be settled in a matter of months; and sometimes a case will require three or more years to conclude.

How much will my attorney charge?

Your medical malpractice case will be handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that you only have to pay attorney fees if we obtain a recovery for you, either by settlement or trial. If we do not obtain a recovery, you will owe us nothing.If we agree to represent you, the exact terms of our charges will be spelled out in your written contract with us.

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