We are fortunate to have many potential clients come into our offices and speak with us about potential medical negligence cases. Virtually every potential client has what seems like a legitimate complaint against a doctor, hospital, or other medical provider over the medical care that they, or a loved one, has received. In many instances we agree with the potential client that a medical provider has been negligent, however in many — if not most — cases we have to decline representation. One of the most common reasons why we do not pursue medical negligence cases has nothing at all to do with the merits of the case. Instead it has to do with the expense of bringing the case. Since most medical negligence cases are handled on a contingency fee basis (i.e. the lawyer invests his time and his own money in the case in hopes of being paid at the end of the case if his client wins), attorneys have to be confident that a case is strong enough and will generate enough in damages to warrant pursuing the case in the first place. Because medical negligence cases are so expensive, lawyers generally do not take cases unless they have the potential to deliver significant damages. What makes medical malpractice cases so expensive? The Florida Legislature has created a medical malpractice system that requires any claimant bringing a claim to have an expert witness prepare a written report stating that the care received by the victim from the doctor or hospital deviated from the accepted standard of care. Sometimes multiple reports are required. Each report will generally cost tens of thousands of dollars. Doctors who are willing to criticize their colleagues generally charge a hefty fee for doing so. And this is only the beginning. Once a medical malpractice case gets underway there are generally additional, costly medical experts required. Almost all of these expert witnesses will be located out-of-state, so travel expense is almost always required. It is not unusual for a medical negligence case to have one hundred thousand dollars in case costs spent before trial even begins. Unfortunately, medical negligence cases almost always come down to having to make a business decision, and very rarely have to do with something as simple as whether the treating doctor was right or wrong. If you have questions regarding a potential Florida medical malpractice case, or how medical negligence cases work, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...Read More »
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