If you’ve ever been to a trial, you might know some aspects of it here and there. But if you were asked the question “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me?” it leads to a much more serious matter. A medical malpractice case is a difficult undertaking for attorneys, even the ones that specialize in it. Here we’ll cover some of the general laws and concerns you should have when going into answering “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me”, how commonplace medical malpractice is in the U.S, how to answer “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me” and why it’s so important to answer “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me”.
How bad is medical malpractice in the U.S.?
If you’re here from searching “medical malpractice attorneys near me” then perhaps you or someone you know may have been a victim of medical malpractice. So, how common is it in the states?
Although news on medical malpractice is seldom, it happens fairly frequently. Whether it be from wrong advice or neglect of the doctors, it can very well lead to adverse effects on the patient. With an estimate of about 225,000 dead in the U.S. yearly, fairly high numbers like these may alarm you but only about 2% of them ever file legal action. Of course, even fewer receiving compensation for any injuries or loss of life. This makes answering “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me” more daunting of a task.
These numbers come from a study done in 2002 that found that a yearly average of 195,000 deaths in hospitals was due to preventable medical errors. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports 106,000 patients to die due to the negative effects of their medication. Another study showed that about 12,000 die yearly from unnecessary surgeries.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, half of the malpractice cases were filed against practicing surgeons. In the United States, there are a total of 3 states with the highest successful medical malpractice cases between 1990 and 2003. These states are Illinois, Indiana, and New Mexico making a total of more than 11,733 cases to date. These statistics show that answering “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me” has always been sought after in these three states.
U.S. laws concerning medical malpractice
In the U.S, it is subject to each state’s laws as to how malpractice is handled and not the Federal government. To receive payment for damages, it is required that the patient prove the cause of injury was due to substandard treatment. The allegation must be filed promptly, this period is known as the ‘statute of limitation’ and varies from state to state.
If found that malpractice has taken place, it is up to the court to calculate the damages. This covers the loss of income in the period, cost of further medical care, and non-economic matters like pain and suffering due to the malpractice. On the side of the physician, it is common to have medical malpractice insurance. In cases that it was unintentional, this is to protect them and is required in some hospitals to work there.
Terms and history of medical malpractice laws in the U.S.
When we say medical malpractice this means any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that diverges from accepted norms of medical practice, as established in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient. Medical malpractice falls under a subset of ‘tort law’.
Tort law creates a body of law for righting civil disputes rather than contractual, or criminal activity. There is a commonly used standard in tort law called “reasonable person” which is a legal fiction created so the law can have a reference point. This point is reasoned out of what a person in a similar circumstance would, or wouldn’t do to protect other people from foreseeable risk.
The current medical malpractice law has its roots in 19th century English common law. Common law refers to laws and legal systems made by courts and judges, as opposed to ones made by legislative and executive authority. In the U.S. since medical malpractice is under state laws it can vary from case to case. But since medical malpractice has its roots in common law the principles are similar. With time though, legislative action has been taken by individual states to make it vary slightly. So, it generally covers the same things with small, newer changes depending on the state’s history.
Exceptions to medical malpractice laws
One exception to medical liability however lies in the ‘Good Samaritan’ laws. This covers any bystanders that volunteer to take action in cases of emergency. Good Samaritan laws were put in place to keep people from being afraid of helping those in immediate need, as they kept away the fear of being sued or prosecuted. These do vary from state to state but there are a few aspects that are generally accepted.
The imminent danger can be discussed in court for any situation where it may be seen as reckless for example if the bystander acted, but the court decides that there was no imminent peril making it a reckless action. Another part is that any bystander who chooses to help with the situation is obligated to wait until rescue workers arrive.
There are exceptions, like if the bystander needs to leave to call for medical assistance, or if any further aid is unsafe. So depending on the situation the Good Samaritan law can provide immunity if the bystander was to cause death, disfigurement, or disability, as long as the respondent acted in good faith, according to his level of training, and in a reasonable manner. In some states, these immunities only apply if the respondent has had training and is certified by the health organization that trained him. In other states, though as long as it is seen that the respondent acted rationally, it is enough to provide immunization.
How to file a medical malpractice case?
It is important to know which courts handle civil disputes that are appropriate to your medical malpractice case as if you file the case at the wrong court, your case can be dismissed because of a lack of venue. Though it is common for there to be only one trial court that handles matters that include Medical Malpractice, in some towns, there might be two jurisdictions that can allow you to file cases in more than one court.
According to a healthcare fraud attorney, in cases where the malpractice claims involve the federal government for fraud either through a federally funded clinic or Veteran’s administration facility, then it is to be taken to the state’s federal district court. There can be other cases that are taken to the federal court, this being if the parties are in different states of each other. In the case that this does happen, the substantive law is applied by federal courts which are used to resolve legal disputes, statutory law, or legal precedent that is derived from the state in which the district court is located. This means medical malpractice cases that are tried in federal courts are subject to that state’s medical malpractice laws.
Most medical malpractice cases are jury trials meaning a group of individuals from the public will be asked to consider the evidence presented and make a decision. The choice of jurors is guided by court rules and with the participation of lawyers from both sides. General information is known to both parties about the jurors in which you can strike a number of the jurors, to assure impartiality.
General legal elements of medical malpractice
Any medical malpractice case in the U.S. must prove four elements to successfully claim for medical malpractice. These include the duties and legal responsibilities of a doctor to ensure proper care, breach of these duties by not complying with medical best practices, defining the relationship between not complying with their duties and harm caused to the patient, and the rise of damages sprouting from any damages caused by a breach of duty.
Proving these things can vary from case to case especially the second one as what is considered ‘common standards’ can be difficult to understand for a layperson. This usually results in the attendance of expert witness testimony within the jury, to provide further context. There are cases where this is not needed though like doing surgery on the wrong leg for example as it is obvious where the failure to meet common standards is.
Top law firms for medical malpractice in the U.S.
It can be difficult to find the right attorney in cases where you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice. It is important to find a medical malpractice lawyer with ample experience in this specific specialized type of case. When you are not familiar with anyone in the legal profession, it is hard to know where to start looking.
There are databases online where you can search for legal practitioners. Databases like Halt.org or Avvo.com or Martindale.com. They provide information on attorneys such as their location, where they practice law, reviews, and their disciplinary records if any.
Another option would be to try and consult your state or local bar association to access their attorney directory. This is a list of lawyers practicing in your local area. To give you a starting off point for your search, here is a shortlist that can answer the question “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me”.
- Abramson, Brown & Dugan
- Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, P.C.
- Babbitt & Johnson P.A.
- Bird Law Group, P.C.
- Buzzell, Welsh & Hill, LLP
- Chapman, Lewis & Swan
- Clore Law Group LLC
- Davis Levin Livingston
- Duffy & Duffy, PLLC
- Edwards Kirby, LLP
- Faraci Lange, LLP
- FoleyCerilli, PC
- Gentry Locke Attorneys
- Gold & Gold, P.A.
- Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A.
- Harry T. Widmann & Associates, P.L.C.
- Hayes Lorenzen Lawyers, PLC
- Huegli Fraser PC
- Hopkins and Forhan
- Iliff, Meredith, Wildberger & Brennan, P.C.
- Jack H. Olender & Associates, P.C.
- John A. Caputo & Associates, P.C.
- Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins PC
- Kennedy Johnson Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C.
- Keating Wagner Polidori Free
Although this list is relatively extensive, it is important to do your research and perhaps even get into contact with other lawyers for their recommendations. Attorneys often have networks of other practitioners that they know and can point you in the right direction. Your question “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me” might still be left unanswered, so we’ll cover what to look for next.
Finding medical malpractice attorneys near me
Medical malpractice cases are fairly difficult for injured patients to handle as there are many technical advantages to the providers. This makes it doubly important to answer “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me” as finding a skilled or specialized attorney is key in cases such as this.
To help with answering “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me” there are a few sites out there that help with answering that question. These sites ask for your state and city and can help locate attorneys for many specific cases. If however, you can’t find an attorney specializing in medical malpractice, here are some tips to start with.
What if I can’t find medical malpractice attorneys near me?
As someone who would ask “where can I find medical malpractice attorneys near me”, it is quite a serious job to take on for the attorney. This is why it’s fine to ask and find out what you can about them upon meeting. Whether they’ve handled cases of medical malpractice in the past, or if they’ve handled any case similar to yours? Do they have medical education or any medical resources to help them compete against the opposition? Do they have any titles, honors, or credentials that might lend them more credence? How do their peers see them? As someone asking “medical malpractice attorneys near me”, it is essential that you take extra precautions when choosing the right attorney for you.
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