Every day you hear of one patient or another suing their doctor or a pharmaceutical company because they suffered serious health related issues due to the negligence of a doctor or pharmaceutical company. It only takes a quick search to see the leading causes of medical malpractice around the country with statistics current and past. Medical malpractice is always in the news so if you feel you have suffered due to the negligence or wrongful actions of a medical professional, there are certain things you may want to know before you file that suit in a court of law.
Class Action vs. Private Lawsuit
Sometimes there are two ways to go about bringing your personal case before the courts. If there is a class action lawsuit already set in motion, you could simply hop onboard with one of those. Many people choose this as it is not only the easiest to get going but the attorneys handling these cases are already well informed on the subject and have agreed to take the case. Filing a private lawsuit does have its advantages, but also a number of disadvantages as well.
Take for example the recent lawsuit against the makers of the drug Multaq. This is fairly new pharmaceutical used to treat heart fibrillations (irregular heartbeats) but oddly, that very same drug can irreversibly injure the heart! It has been known to lead to strokes and fatal heart attacks. How curious is that? A medication developed to treat fibrillations in the heart that can cause serious side effects leading to death. Multaq is one of those odd drugs that was released as the lawsuit claims, before adequate testing had been completed and since it is so new on the market, most attorneys will not have heard of it and will therefore need to take a huge amount of time studying up on it even before agreeing to represent you.
Not All Medical Malpractice Suits Can Be Proven
Even though you know in your heart of hearts that a doctor was personally liable for the sufferings you experienced after a surgery or that a wrong diagnosis was made due to inadequate tests being conducted, it may be hard to prove any wrongdoing or negligence. Courts tend to be ‘impartial’ and so they cannot understand or experience the same things you or your family did. If you are going to take a doctor or other medical professional to court, you had better have all your eggs in the basket or chances are slim that you will win the compensation you feel you deserve.
Your Name Will Be Raked through the Mud
Also when filing a medical malpractice suit you will be up against some pretty high powered attorneys. Bear in mind that you will be naming the doctor and/or his place of practice in the suit which could also be a very big medical institution. Not only will you be up against those attorneys but the doctor’s and hospital’s attorneys aren’t the only ones you will need to deal with! Every doctor and medical institution of any kind is required to carry medical malpractice insurance so you will be up against the insurance company’s legal team as well. They will work very hard to discredit you by any means possible and that can have serious implications down the road. Are you willing to go against that?
When a Class Action Lawsuit is Available
For these reasons, many people opt to join in with an existing class action lawsuit. Not only are they easier to get off the ground because they are already in process, but you will be working with an attorney who is well versed in the situation and can easily add you to the existing list of clients. Also, these attorneys work on contingency so they will work long and hard to win the battle. After all, with potentially dozens (if not hundreds!) of clients, they stand to gain a small fortune with their share of the monetary award ordered by the court.
It is also difficult to be visibly raked through the mud when there are dozens of other clients who are also part of the complaint. If a whole group is suing, it is natural to believe that attorney knows they can win because there is ample evidence to support the claims. When one person sues, it is so much more difficult to authenticate claims. It’s like the old axiom, ‘strength in numbers.’ No matter which route you choose to go, just be aware of what you might be up against – big money and lots of power. Be prepared for a battle! But having said that, a good lawyer can and most often does win.