Common Misconceptions About Medical Malpractice

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Medical malpractice cases are often complex and detailed. Here's what you should know about them.

Your health is important—this is obvious. Going to a doctor or hospital for treatment shouldn't ever feel like a gamble. You should be able to trust the people you're receiving medical care from, but the sad truth is that sometimes negligence causes damage, and that damage can lead to medical malpractice cases being filed. Some people, however, think that they should not pursue a malpractice case for some reason, or that if they do, they have to accept the first offer they're given. Misconceptions about medical malpractice cases are numerous and can be detrimental to your overall livelihood.

In cases of malpractice, responsible parties should be held liable for damages they cause, but some people choose not to go after a case due to misunderstanding certain things about malpractice. Here are some of the more common misconceptions about medical malpractice cases—once you know about them, you won't be confused about whether you should talk to a medical malpractice lawyer.

1. Malpractice cases require you to be injured due to negligence.

Of course, medical malpractice includes injury due to negligence, but that is not the only definition of it. Other malpractice cases have been in response to misdiagnosis, failure to treat an injury or illness properly (or failure to treat at all), failure to administer proper medication, or failure to inform patients about potential risks of a procedure or alternative treatment. Seeing a doctor means you should be able to expect an adequate level of care, and when that isn't the case, you have the right to fight for compensation for damages.

2. You should accept the first settlement offer.

Medical professionals and insurance companies will try to intimidate patients who have filed malpractice claims into accepting a sub-par settlement in order to avoid going to court. They'll tell patients about the costliness of going to trial in order to get them to accept a small payout. You don't have to accept the first settlement offer, especially if you think your case is worth more. You can hold out for a higher payout or even take the case to trial.

3. You can't afford a medical malpractice lawyer.

What many people don't realize about retaining legal help is that many lawyers work on a contingency basis. What that means is that you only pay their fees if they win your case. If you don't win the case, you don't pay the lawyers anything.

4. Malpractice only applies to doctors and surgeons.

A lot of people assume that they can only pursue a malpractice claim if the problem was with a doctor or surgeon. In reality, any medical professional who treats or provides care to you can be held liable for malpractice. That includes nurses, medical assistants, anesthesiologists, and other professionals. If you've experienced negligent care from any medical professional who has treated you, you may have a case—contacting a malpractice attorney will help you find out if you do.

5. Malpractice lawyers will take any case.

While it may actually be easy to find a lawyer who concentrates on malpractice cases, it's much more difficult to retain their services. It is not beneficial for a lawyer to take on a malpractice case if it has little merit or monetary value, since just as much work will go into a smaller case as a larger one. Taking on a case usually means that the lawyer thinks there is a good chance of winning it, and taking on a case that doesn't have a good chance of winning a settlement isn't a good time investment for a lawyer.

If you aren't sure if you have a winning malpractice case on your hands, it's in your best interest to discuss the details and get a consultation from a medical malpractice attorney. They can tell you whether there's a viable claim and what your course of action should be.

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