The biggest challenge is the fact that we do need that expert, the expert in the same specialty, to testify against the offending healthcare provider. At times, it’s very difficult to find those experts, and a lot of times, you have to go out of state because you have to travel outside of the community in order to find the right expert. Again, it’s the nature of the business that sometimes doctors are reluctant to say anything bad about another doctor. We do it. I never had a case where I couldn’t find an expert, but that’s where the major complexity is, and it also is where the costs are.
Our Rock Hill medical malpractice lawyers know these cases cost more to prosecute than any other cases normally because of the experts that you need. These experts are professionals themselves: they are doctors, they charge services for their time, and those fees are usually pretty high because of the nature of their specialty. Depending on the specialty, their fees can be significant. So in that regard, it’s finding the right expert and overcoming the economic side of the malpractice claim that are the most difficult parts of the process.
Consent Forms Before a Surgery
The consent form itself does not give the doctor free range in any way; it doesn’t waive them from responsibility. But you never consent to have someone do something negligent. So if they do a negligent act or omission, whether you sign the consent form or not, it has no bearing on the case whatsoever. Where it does come into play a little is every surgery, for instance, has a risk involved.
That’s where usually, by signing a consent form, you acknowledge that the doctor has explained all the risks to you so that if you suffer adverse consequences from the surgery, they can use the consent form as an affirmative defense against your claim saying, “Well, we explained all of the risks involved in this particular case: you understood the risks, you signed the consent form and what happened to you is just a known risk, so you’re not entitled to be compensated for known risks and complications of surgery or any delivery of healthcare services.”
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Hire an Experienced Attorney to Handle a Medical Malpractice Claim in Rock Hill
Medical malpractice cases are handled differently in every state. North Carolina has very specific procedures that have to be followed, and South Carolina does, as well; and if you don’t follow those procedures, your case is going to get thrown out of court. Sometimes even the best lawyers forget a little dot of an “I” and cross of a “t,” so for a layperson or an attorney who doesn’t do this as a specialty to try to pursue a malpractice case is foolish because you really need to know your way around every complexity in terms of what it takes to prove the case, putting together the medical records and producing your expert witnesses, and all of that becomes a complex issue.
You really do need somebody who has been doing this for a long time. In my 30 years of practice, I have done a lot of personal injury cases, as well as medical malpractice, but the majority of the cases I’ve done for the last 30 years are medical malpractice. You gain a significant amount of expertise along the way. I am not a doctor myself, but I have learned a lot about medicine, mostly through my legal nurse consultants and just from working cases, so it helps me to even initially analyze the case. I can just talk to somebody on the phone. I know the right questions to ask the person; I know how to ascertain quickly whether this is a viable claim, whether it’s something that sounds like it’s more than just a complication, which would be something we’d take a serious look at.