Medical Malpractice Claims: Does Your Client’s Case Have These 4 Basic Elements?

It can be difficult for an attorney to know whether the medical malpractice claim that walked through the door is going to be successful or not. The victim may be incredibly sympathetic and the injuries may be sufficiently serious to warrant some form of compensation. This is not enough, however, to give the green light. It’s very important to consider other factors:

1) Was there a doctor-patient relationship? More often than not, this answer will be yes. The key here to ensure that the doctor whom the victim is referring to actually was on their care team. In this day and age of managed care with numerous doctors being involved at some level in the care of the patient, this can be a difficult question to answer. At a bare minimum, the duty is usually established when the doctor agrees to treat, diagnoses, or treats the patient. Most if not all of the doctors who are involved on a case will probably meet this threshold.

2) Did the care fall below the standard of care? To be able to answer this question, you may feel as if you need a crystal ball. This is not necessarily the case, however, when what you may really need is to have the medical portion of the case reviewed by a doctor who is also an attorney to figure out what went wrong.  

3) Did the care that was below the standard of care cause the patient’s injuries? This is really the $250,000 question because unless there is a causal connection between the injuries of the patient and the care of the doctor, there can be no award of damages. In some cases, this question is relatively easy to answer as in the case of amputation of the wrong limb or unnecessary surgery. In other cases, however, the call is much, much closer, especially if the patient already had numerous co-morbidities, anyone of which could be responsible for the injuries, and it is difficult to untangle the various threads.

4) The harm to the patient is quantifiable. Just because there is damage does not mean that it can be quantified in monetary terms. Pain and suffering must be translated into dollars and cents. There is also the legitimate question of whether the damages are of a high enough value to justify the expense of pursuing the claim. The good news is that there is a wealth of information about damage awards for various injuries that can be accessed and evaluated based on the proposed claim before you.

If you are an attorney who needs assistance weeding through the medical malpractice claims that come through the door, consider reaching out to Dr. Mike Giordano, a neurosurgeon and a lawyer, who focuses on efficiently evaluating medical malpractice claims for other attorneys to determine if the claims have merit and potential. With his quick turnaround and extensive medical knowledge, you will probably feel as if you do in fact have a crystal ball. Contact us today to get started.