5 reasons to choose the right attorney for your medical malpractice case
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical malpractice is the third most common cause of death in the United States. However, only two percent of medical malpractice victims ever file a claim.
If you have a valid malpractice claim, you have every reason to file suit. If you want to win, you will need an attorney that knows medical malpractice law forwards and backwards.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, surgeon, or other medical professional violates the standard of care. Basically, standard of care means what a “reasonably prudent” medical provider would or would not do under the same circumstances.
In a valid medical malpractice claim, the patient must prove that a deviation from the standard of care caused an injury that would not have occurred otherwise.
Medical malpractice cases are usually complex, expensive, and time consuming. The patient needs to show the injury resulted in disability, significant loss of income, unusual pain and suffering, and/or high medical bills. This is why you need a good attorney by your side.
I think my doctor committed medical malpractice. What do I do?
Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will evaluate your claim to see if you have a case. Most will offer a free consultation. To prepare for this meeting, gather all documents, correspondence, photos, and statements that are related to the treatment. Ask about the attorney’s experience – for example, how many cases she has tried and how many she’s won. And, get ready to answer a lot of questions! Maine has a time limit for filing medical malpractice claims. If you feel you have been injured, contact an attorney immediately, time is of the essence.
Can’t I just hire the personal injury attorney I saw on TV?
Medical malpractice is complicated. Your attorney needs to understand these complexities which takes a skill set the attorney on TV may not have.
Here are a few reasons to hire a dedicated medical malpractice attorney for your medical malpractice case.
They know law and medicine
Unlike personal injury law, which mainly involves soft tissue injuries, medical malpractice attorneys need knowledge of, both, medicine and law. If a doctor failed to diagnose your cancer, the attorney needs to know enough about oncology to ask the right questions and hire the right medical experts.
In Maine, Owen Pickus, DO, Esq., is not only licensed to practice law but, also, has more than 35 years of experience as a board-certified internal medicine physician. His background helps him thoroughly review medical records, hospital protocols, and procedures to determine if malpractice has occurred.
They advocate on your behalf
Most medical malpractice cases involve some sort of negotiation with insurers. Insurance companies can tell when the plaintiff’s attorney is not familiar with their procedures. When they sense inexperience, they are less likely to settle for a fair amount. An experienced medical malpractice attorney knows how to get most from the insurers.
As a physician, Dr. Pickus saw patients injured by the healthcare system. “Since I couldn’t fix the system from within, I needed to do it from without,” he said. That’s a rare kind of advocate.
They litigate assertively
Many times, medical malpractice cases settle before trial. If not, your attorney must fight for you in court. Not all attorneys have trial experience. Make sure yours does.
In May 2015, a jury awarded Minot resident, Ruth Hricko, $9.6 million after it found a Central Maine Medical Center employee misread her Pap smears for years. Doctors later diagnosed Hricko with Stage III cervical cancer. If the employee had read the Pap smears correctly then doctors could have caught her cancer early. Dr. Owen Pickus, who has offices in Kennebunk, represented Hricko and her husband on that landmark victory.
They know the right experts
An article for Law360 reports jurors tend to love doctors and nurses. To show that these medical professionals acted negligently, plaintiffs’ attorneys have to hire quality medical experts.
Medical experts do not come cheap and they are not easy to find. Many doctors do not want to get involved in lawsuits. An experienced medical malpractice attorney has the resources to find the best medical expert for your case.
They know the risks
Because of the experts and research involved, medical malpractice cases can cost into the six figures to bring to trial. These cases can also take years to resolve, whether it’s through settlement or a jury trial.
To add to the challenge, only a small percentage of medical malpractice cases succeed. According to a 2006 New England Journal of Medicine study, settlements favored plaintiffs in 61 percent of cases. Plaintiffs prevailed at trial only 21 percent of the time.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney understands the risks going into these cases and is prepared to bear the cost. An attorney that is less experienced in medical malpractice could urge you to settle the case for less money.
Dr. Owen Pickus has helped clients win millions of dollars in judgments and settlements, including the largest jury award in Maine history.
If you think you’ve been harmed by a medical professional’s negligent care, call The Law Offices at Owen Pickus at 1-855-PAE-4-LAW (472-3529) or send a message through its website at owenpickuslaw.com.