News Article Highlights Why Malpractice Cases Are Tough To Win
Almost every personal injury case is difficult to win, or at least, to get a positive result. The law isn’t easy, and legal cases are complex. But there’s one area of the law that recently received some special attention from the news media because of the specific difficulties of winning: Medical malpractice.
A Lot of Cases, But Little Compensation
A recent news article pointed out how difficult it can be to win medical malpractice cases.
Florida, on the one hand, had the third highest number of medical malpractice cases filed in the nation. But the compensation received by victims (that is, the settlements known and jury verdicts) ranked Florida 43rd in the nation. According to the article, in the time period studied, only about $3 million were awarded to malpractice victims in total.
That means that although a lot of cases are filed, many yield a defense verdict, or a very small settlement or verdict.
The big question is why, and the answer lies in a lot of the laws and practicalities of medical malpractice cases.
Time Limits to File Cases
One hurdle many victims have is time. There is only 2 years to file a medical malpractice claim. That sounds like a lot, but often victims, unsure of whether their medical problems stem from malpractice or not, are slow to see an attorney about their problems. By the time they do, they may be approaching that 2 year statute of limitations.
Limitations on Recovery and Damage Caps
Another problem is a unique loophole in the law, that limits recovery for noneconomic damages for family members of a victim in malpractice cases. For family members who are over 25 years old, they cannot recover full damages (specifically, they are barred from non-economic damages, like pain suffering, anxiety, loss of consortium or companionship), and may even be barred completely from filing wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of deceased family members.
If a hospital is involved as a Defendant, and it is a public hospital, the hospital is protected by sovereign immunity, which limits liability against a government entity to between $200,000-$300.000.
The Cause of the Injury
Causation is always a problem in malpractice cases; to win a malpractice case you have to show the end result—the death or the injury or the worsening of the victim’s condition—was caused by the malpractice. That can often be difficult to prove.
Many victims, especially those with pre-existing conditions, or who may already be ill, elderly or infirm, may have a lot of underlying medical conditions working in concert contributing to the injuries or the victim’s condition. Many victims have a hard time showing that it is the doctor’s errors or omissions that caused their condition, and not something else in their medical background or history.
Don’t Give Up
None of this should discourage you from seeing an attorney if you feel you have been a victim of medical malpractice. Many malpractices do win, or obtain favorable outcomes. It just means you should be careful to pick the right medical malpractice attorney, to make sure your case is handled correctly.
We understand medical malpractice, and can help you see if you have a case or not. Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today.