If you have suffered from negligent or careless medical care that caused you harm, you may be a victim of medical malpractice and entitled to damages. Some examples of medical malpractice are misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis of cancer and other medical conditions, medical mistakes, surgical errors and prescribing incorrect medication.
However, finding a lawyer to act on your behalf is not easy — it is a highly specialized area of law and the legal issues are complex. Here are five questions to ask a prospective lawyer that will help you decide whether they will be able to understand the intricacies of your case and bring it to trial.
- What is your experience with medical malpractice? Have you gone to trial? Your lawyer should be highly-experienced in medical malpractice litigation with a record of taking medical malpractice cases to trial. Medical malpractice cases go to court more than any other area of personal injury law and you may have a greater chance of success if your lawyer is an experienced medical malpractice litigator. In addition, expert evidence is a requirement of most medical malpractice claims, so your lawyer should know how to build a strong foundation for your case by retaining highly qualified and experienced medical experts.
- How do I know if my case is valid and what do I need to demonstrate before the court? You need to show that your doctor or health care provider breached the standard of care and that the breach caused injury or damage. That means showing the care and treatment was below the generally accepted standards of a similarly qualified professional providing the same treatment, and that if you had been treated properly, you would not have had the injury. Experts play a significant role in medical malpractice cases because they set out standards of care for each profession and give evidence about whether those standards were met.
- How much does retaining a medical malpractice lawyer cost? Generally, medical malpractice lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no fees you need to pay to your lawyers, unless your case is successful. In addition, you might need many expert reports to prove your case, which can be costly. It is best to ensure that you understand who is responsible for these expenses prior to retaining a lawyer. Bogoroch & Associates LLP believes access to justice is of critical importance and therefore we take on medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis.
- What will I have to reveal about myself? The burden of proof is on the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case. Records about your health history and well-being are relevant and you may have to share your medical records. In addition, your lawyer — as well as the defence lawyer — will need to ask a significant number of personal questions. If you are alleging loss of income, your tax records or your tax returns or other financial records may be examined.
- How long will the case take? The length of each medical malpractice case varies, depending on the facts of the case. Some of the steps involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit include collecting relevant medical records and investigating the merits of the case, issuing the Statement of Claim, receiving the Statement of Defence, attending an examination for discovery, mediation, and trial. Your lawyers should provide you with an approximate timeline of the milestones in your case, and how they expect you to participate.
For more information about medical malpractice litigation, please contact Bogoroch & Associates LLP.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.