Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
Under the law in all states, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must be able to prove three issues. First, that there was negligence by one or more of the healthcare providers involving the patient’s care. Second, that this negligence was the cause of the injury or death. Third, the plaintiff must prove damages that are the result of negligence.
Proof of negligence is dependent on the facts of the case and on expert testimony to show that medical care was below an acceptable level. Most of the evidence that is necessary to show the facts of the case will be found in the medical records. This evidence is crucial in allowing medical experts to base their opinions about the standard of medical care provided in each specific case. Thus, the first step in evaluating any medical malpractice case is a critical review of the medical records.
Most attorneys must rely on reviews by physicians who are hired to review the medical records and offer opinions about whether there was any negligence in care that caused an injury or death. Unfortunately, such hired consultants may offer opinions that are not supportable in court, or they may cause the attorney to reject certain valid claims.
Dr. Bruce Fagel, with his medical training (MD from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1972), 10 years of emergency medicine practice in Illinois and California and 25+ years of experience as a medical malpractice trial lawyer (with over 700 cases that have been settled), is able to review the medical records of all potential cases and personally decide if there is a case. Dr. Fagel is then able to consult with the appropriate medical experts in many different fields as a result of his contacts with over 500 physician-experts.
Another problem that many attorneys have in evaluating and pursing medical malpractice cases is that they are dependent on doctors as experts. Unfortunately, many of these doctors do not understand legal causation. The law allows ordinary citizens, as jurors, to decide if there is a legal relationship between negligence and the injury or death. However, many doctors look at the relationship between care and outcome from their strict medical perspective. As a result, they often miss this crucial element of a case because they often do not believe that there is sufficient medical evidence to support a relationship between negligent care and an injury or death. Again, it is critical to have an attorney who is both experienced in medical malpractice law and has a sufficient medical background to be able to take existing medical evidence and opinions and then develop a case within the requirements of our legal system.