I recently read an interesting online article entitled “Patient Harm: When An Attorney Won’t Take Your Case”. The article describes the sad truth that most legitimate medical malpractice victims will never find a lawyer to represent them because their injuries are too “insignificant” to be “litigation worthy”.
You see, medical malpractice cases are extremely expensive to bring because (1) the doctors and their insurance companies will generally fight you all the way to trial and won’t settle; (2) to prove your case, you need to hire at least one, and usually more, expensive expert physicians who will testify that the defendant doctor committed medical malpractice and who will describe the injuries he caused you.
Because medical malpractice cases are so expensive (the costs, not including attorney’s fees, are generally at least $50,000 and usually closer to $100,000), the amount of compensation a jury is likely to give you for the injury has to be worth at least $250,000 to make it worth the lawyer’s time, and worth the risk he is taking of going to trial and losing.
The article points out that the law here seems to discriminate against children, the poor and the elderly because often it is only a “bread winner” who can prove sufficient economic loss to make the case worthwhile. For example if a 40 year-old computer technician earning $100,000 per year is the victim of medical malpractice and he can’t work for the rest of his life, in lost earnings alone his case is worth a few million dollars. But the retired worker, or an unemployed one, or a child, often can’t prove any real damages for lost wages, so their malpractice case won’t be capable of bringing in a verdict big enough to entice a malpractice attorney to take on all that work and risk.
And that’s too bad, because for many of these patients or surviving family, a lawsuit is their only hope to recover what, for them, isn’t just “chump change”, but real money they need, and it is also the only means they have to learn the truth about what happened to them or their loved one.
The sad truth is that most malpractice victims seeking a medical malpractice lawyer can’t find one who will take their case. At Michaels & Smolak, we reject at least 90% of medical malpractice cases. And it’s not because we don’t want to help the victims, but because the damages suffered won’t pay for the lawsuit! If we took on every medical malpractice case that walked into our door we would be shutting that door within a year. Unfortunately, sometimes reality gets in the way of real justice.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.