It is impossible to provide a list of the types of malpractice cases that are good or bad. Every circumstance is unique and needs to be considered on its own merits and facts. Before giving you an opinion as to whether your own circumstance amounts to a “good case”, we must carefully investigate. Since medical malpractice cases are so expensive and time consuming to pursue, we will only recommend that you take an action if you have a good chance of being successful. In order to be successful, you will have to prove that a health care provider acted in a negligent manner and that the negligence led to a negative result.
An initial investigation to determine the merit of the liability situation (that is, was someone negligent?) will first require that we obtain all relevant medical records. We will carefully review those records and then provide appropriate experts with copies along with questions we need answered about the care you received. When we have an expert opinion, we will be able to sit down with you and have a meaningful discussion as to whether a lawsuit is recommended. Together, we can make the decision of whether or not your circumstance will amount to a viable lawsuit. Obviously, if we go ahead with a lawsuit, we will likely have to rely upon additional experts as the case progresses.
We also rely upon experts to help establish that the negligent conduct was the actual cause of the injuries complained of. Sometimes this is obvious, and sometimes not. For example, in cases involving negligent delay in the diagnosis of cancer, it may be easy to establish that the defendant neglected to order appropriate testing or misread a diagnostic test. However, it may be hard to establish that the patient would have survived if only the cancer had been diagnosed a few months earlier. It could be the case that despite incompetent medical treatment, the outcome for the patient was not affected. Complicated medical questions arise such as the specific stage of the tumour and its type. What size was it? What was the cancer cell doubling time? How far had it already spread when the misdiagnosis occurred? As a Plaintiff in a lawsuit, it is your burden to prove that the negligence actually caused any injury, and if so, how much injury was caused by that negligence.
Another issue we will address is whether the case is economically justifiable. To pursue a medical malpractice case, Robinson LLP may spend as much as $50,000 to $100,000 in out-of-pocket expenses plus countless hours of time. Although we work on Contingency Fee Agreements and will front the disbursement money, we need to know that you will collect damages for your losses. You will spend some amount of time pursuing the matter and you may find it somewhat stressful; that means it must be worth your while to embark on the litigation journey. This is not always the case, even in cases involving clear negligence. For example, a potential case may involve a temporary misdiagnosis of a medical condition, with the correct diagnosis eventually being made. If there are no significant permanent injuries, then we would probably not recommend that you pursue the case. In that circumstance, the upside of winning would be too small to balance the downside of losing. That means that sometimes, legitimate small damage malpractice claims may be inappropriate lawsuits because the risk of losing, the disbursement and time cost to the lawyer, and the potential benefit to the client, simply do not justify a lengthy, expensive legal battle.
There are many aspects to investigate and consider when deciding whether you have a good case or a case worth pursuing in the legal arena. Robinson LLP can help you make an educated, intelligent decision as to whether you should proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit.