Are you considering medical negligence compensation?
There is a lot to consider before deciding to move ahead with a case. There are also misconceptions about medical negligence cases.
In New York, medical malpractice suits paid out a total of $711.7 million in 2015. There were 19.3 malpractice suits for every 100,000 residents in the state.
These are the 10 facts about medical negligence compensation you need to know before pursuing a case.
Fact 1: There’s a Difference Between Malpractice and Negligence
The first thing to know is that there is a difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice. You might hear the words used interchangeably, but they’re not.
Medical Negligence occurs when a doctor or health practitioner makes an error without intent to cause harm during treatment.
Medical Malpractice occurs what happens when a doctor, facility or health care provider know they should take a certain course of action to treat a patient but don’t do so. An example would be that a medical provider knew they should have ordered a screening test but didn’t due to high costs.
There is a fine line between medical negligence and medical malpractice. If you are considering a medical negligence compensation case, choose an attorney who is well-versed in the law.
Fact 2: The Statute of Limitations in New York
There is a statute of limitations for medical cases in New York. In other words, you have a certain amount of time to file a suit from the date the injury occurred.
The legal code in New York states that you have two and half years to take legal action. It also specifies the time when the injury occurred, which can vary depending on the situation.
It’s best not to hesitate to have your case reviewed by an attorney.
Fact 3: Medical Negligence Compensation Cases Can Be Difficult to Prove
In medical negligence cases, the burden is on you to prove that you had an injury that was the result of a treatment under medical supervision. This could be at a hospital, nursing home, dentist’s office or doctor’s office.
It’s also up to you to prove that your practitioner violated the standard of care, which can be challenging.
Fact 4: There Are Fewer Cases, But Payouts Are Up
Between 1992 and 2014, medical malpractice suits have declined by 56%. Despite the decline in the number of cases, there’s been a 23% increase in the amount of money paid out.
Experts point to the fact that most cases don’t reach court or settlement unless there is a case beyond a reasonable doubt.
This doesn’t mean that your case won’t win or go far. Don’t make that assumption. Talk to an attorney who understands and has experience in medical negligence compensation cases.
Fact 5: You May Have to Wait Before You Receive Your Settlement Check
Once your case is settled, private insurance companies take around three weeks to send the settlement check. This check is sent to your attorney, who then turns the funds over to you.
There are a number of exceptions to this guideline. For example, if your case is against the City of New York or a municipal agency, it will take quite a long time for you to receive any funds.
Fact 6: You Do Have Rights as a Patient
As a patient, you do have rights. You are allowed to speak up and take a preventative approach to medical negligence.
You have every right to speak up, ask questions, and get a second opinion.
As a guideline, you can use this diagnosis checklist to make sure you’re getting the best medical care.
Fact 7: Medical Negligence Compensation Will Not Increase in Your Insurance
One reason why many medical negligence cases aren’t pursued is that people are afraid such a lawsuit will increase their insurance premium.
This is false. Plain and simple.
In fact, the Insurance Journal reported that insurance rates will rise, regardless of the number or size of medical malpractice claims.
Insurance Journal also pointed out that while there has been an increase in large claims, these claims may be the best means to make healthcare safe.
Fact 8: Most Medical Negligence Cases Are Rejected
You might be surprised to learn that most medical negligence cases are rejected by attorneys.
This is because it is a very complex process to take a case and see it through to settlement or trial.
Other times, the statue of limitations has expired.
Attorneys often invest years and financial resources in their medical negligence compensation cases. That’s why it’s so important to present a sound case to the attorney first.
Again, it’s up to you to prove that medical negligence occurred.
Fact 9: New York Is a Comparative Negligence State
Should this matter to you? Absolutely! A comparative negligence state could actually leave the plaintiff liable for their part in the matter.
For example, if you win a medical negligence compensation suit for $500,000, but the court finds you to be 20% responsible and the health care provider 80% responsible, then your award will be reduced by 20%.
Defense attorneys will do everything they can to put the responsibility of the injury on the patient’s shoulders. That’s why it’s critical to hire a law firm that has experience in dealing with these situations.
Fact 10: Only a Small Percentage of Claims Go to Trial
Over 90% of medical malpractice cases never make it to the courtroom. Instead, they’re settled out of court.
It’s usually cheaper for both parties to settle out of courts and avoid a potentially expensive trial. That being said, court cases usually yield larger awards for plaintiffs.
Your attorney will advise you when it’s best to settle and when you should pursue a court case.
Should You Pursue a Case for Medical Negligence Compensation?
After reading this list of facts, you might be discouraged from pursuing a case against a medical provider for medical negligence.
Don’t make that assumption. Every case and circumstance is different.
It’s best to consult with a legal expert who can guide you and help you make the right decision for you, your family and your financial future.
Our firm has over 60 years of combined experience in medical malpractice & negligence cases. Schedule a complimentary consultation today.