Medical Malpractice FAQ
What is medical malpractice?
Generally speaking malpractice is the professional negligence of a doctor or hospital. It is the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances or doing something that a reasonably prudent doctor would not do or failing to do something that he would do. This definition applies to nurses, interns, residents and most healthcare professionals. There is more to the legal definition but this is a good working start.
Do I have a case of medical malpractice?
Probably. Most people who have the feeling that they have received negligent medical care are usually right. The issue becomes is there a provable case of medical malpractice under the laws of the State of New York. The answer to that question depends on the facts of your medical care and what is recorded in your doctors medical records or the hospital records. If there is a provable case we will find it and get it resolved as fast as we can.
How much time do I have to sue for medical malpractice?
The amount of time a person has to start a lawsuit is called the Statute of Limitations. To start a lawsuit, papers have to be filed in a courthouse and then delivered to the people named as defendants in the lawsuit. This legal time period differs from state to state. In New York State, generally, against a privileged doctor or hospital a patient has 2 1/2 years from the date of the last negligent event. In New York State, if the medical malpractice / negligence occurred at a municipal hospital, there are very strict periods much shorter in length. A Notice of Claim has to be filed with the municipality within 90 days of an event and a lawsuit must be started within one year and 90 days. At a hospital operated by the State of New York, a Notice of Intention to File Claim must be made within 90 days of the event. There are specific tolls for lawsuits involving children, mental disability, and continuous treatment.
How long does a medical malpractice case take to resolve?
There is no exact answer to this question since all cases are different. Most cases take between 24 to 36 months to resolve with some a lot longer and some a lot shorter.
What does it cost to hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer?
An initial consultation with medical malpractice lawyers in the State of New York is generally conducted without a fee. Investigation of the matter after the initial consultation is conducted without hourly charge. A lawyer in medical negligence generally works on the basis of a contingency fee. A contingency fee is authorized by law and has long been recognized as a fundamental way to provide access to the judicial system.
Very few persons have the financial strength to pay hourly fees for legal representation and medical malpractice. Hospitals themselves have great financial resources to fight a patient’s meritorious claim, making the patient’s exercise of his or her rights very costly. Experienced law firms in medical malpractice/negligence have the financial strength to fight the insurance and medical industries resistance. Instead of a up front fee, the attorney will be paid a percentage of the recovery. In the State of New York that percentage of recovery is 30% of the first $250,000 recovered, 25% of the next $250,000 recovered, 20% of the next $500,000 recovered, 15% of the next $250,000 recovered and 10% of any amounts recovered in excess of $1,250,000.
If I bring a medical malpractice / negligence lawsuit do I have to go to court?
Yes, although settlements in meritorious cases are frequent, settlements usually take place only after all discovery has been completed. Many times settlements are not offered until “half day” through trial. Recently, the insurance industry has bombarded the public with propaganda concerning frivolous lawsuits and large jury verdicts. This has affected the minds of many well intentioned jurors who are now misguided when they serve in trials. For this reason, insurance companies regularly refuse to settle lawsuits, hoping to take advantage of the expensive advertisements and news items that in the media.
At time of trial it is generally thought necessary that the person who brings the lawsuit be present in Court as often as possible. This could range anywhere from a couple of days to a week or longer.
Will the lawsuit that I bring affect my access to medical treatment?
No. Although doctors are sometimes reluctant to speak out against another colleague they rarely allow a lawsuit to interfere with their care and treatment of a patient. Over the years, our clients have experienced a very high standard of medical treatment from other doctors during the tendency of their lawsuit. They have found that doctors and hospitals are not concerned with any legal proceeding. However, patients should not rely on or anticipate that any other doctor who treats them will help them at trial.
Why should I choose Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., as my attorneys?
Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. has been an established law firm for almost 40 years. We have experience in all Courts in the prosecution of medical malpractice cases. In addition to being able to effectively negotiate a settlement, we are also capable and well experienced in conducting appellate practice before the Appellate Courts.
Our law firm does not refer cases out, we handle them ourselves. Many attorneys refer cases and clients to our law firm because of our experience and proven record. Our firm has been involved in historic, precedent setting cases involving some of the largest recoveries in the State of New York. In fact, we represent Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Nassau County, and the Suffolk County areas.
Our malpractice attorneys aim to provide friendly and compassionate service to our clients. For more information, contact Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. for a complimentary consultation.