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Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is, perhaps, one of the worst things a patient can experience. It occurs when a healthcare professional violates their duty of care to their patient in some way and harms them. It is not an uncommon occurrence.

At The Joel Bieber Firm, we’ve got years of experience fighting for and winning significant compensation for our clients. Our malpractice team understands the impact medical errors have on people’s bodies and minds, and we work to get our clients the full compensation they deserve so they can rebuild their lives.

Proving a Medical Malpractice Claim

Medical malpractice claims are a type of personal injury claim that may lead to significant compensation, depending on the injury. A patient’s medical malpractice claim must have the following elements in order to be successful.

Duty of Care

Medical professionals owe a special duty of care to their patients. Fulfilling this duty requires that they treat their patients with a minimum degree of care based on regulations and standard and accepted practices in the medical profession.

When you’ve suffered medical malpractice, your attorney must determine who exactly owed you a duty of care in the moment you suffered harm. If your injury occurred in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, then your medical malpractice attorney will likely start with the first responders who transported you.

In the case of John Mancoll, the surgeon owed a duty of care to his patients, which required him to perform his work sober and free from any intoxicating substances. His arrest for allegedly stealing prescription drugs from a woman is evidence that he potentially performed work — his duty — while under the influence of drugs.

Breach of Duty

If you prove a medical professional had a duty of care toward you, your attorney will then seek to show that they breached this duty. If a doctor executes their duties according to the acceptable standard of care, there’s likely no claim, even if you’re injured.

Causing a medical injury while under the influence of drugs is an unquestionable breach of duty. In reference to John Mancoll, if it can be shown that he was indeed under the influence of drugs when an error occurred, then he could face serious financial liability if the remaining two elements can be proven.


Causation requires your lawyer to demonstrate that a medical professional’s breach of duty was the cause of your injury. For example, a drunk nurse may be in serious breach of her duty toward her patients. However, if your malpractice lawyer can’t show that her drunken state caused the injury in question, then there’s no case.


A surgeon may show up to work under the influence of intoxicants and operate on a patient. However, if their actions end in no harm, there’s no lawsuit. Your medical malpractice claim must demonstrate that you suffered an injury that can be compensated.

At The Joel Bieber Firm, we’ve helped many clients over the years to determine the validity and value of their claims. We’ve also helped them pursue full compensation for their injuries. You deserve to be made whole, and we can help in this process.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Misdiagnosis/Delayed Diagnosis

A misdiagnosis in simple terms is when a patient with a medical condition is diagnosed by a medical professional as having a condition that they do not have. In the case of medical malpractice this misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is so severe that the impact to the patient’s health and well being is significantly impacted. As an example, a patient is diagnosed as having a peptic ulcer when it is actually stomach cancer. A misdiagnosis is not medical malpractice as skilled doctors can misdiagnosis. However, if proper procedures and protocols were not followed in arriving at the diagnosis then it may have occurred and your best course of action is to have one of our team review your medical records.

Prescription Drug Errors

Was the correct drug given to the patient in the correct dosage? Was a documented pre-existing allergy adhered to when administering the drug? Was the drug given to the patient at the right time in accordance with the patient care plan, or several hours too early? There are prescription drug errors that occur under the care of medical providers that can cause irreparable harm and even death. This type of medical malpractice is more common than you might think.

Childbirth Injuries

There are few times in a woman’s life that she is more vulnerable to injury than during childbirth. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) about 7 in every 1,000 children will suffer from a birth injury, and pregnancy related deaths are also on the rise. Injuries suffered by a child at childbirth can have significant and long-term consequences.

Improper Treatment/Failure to Treat

Medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients. Mishandling of patient care in the form of improper treatment or even failure to treat can have serious, even fatal consequences.

Surgical or Procedural Errors

Surgical and procedural errors happen. Some common examples include wrong side surgery, devices like clamps and sponges left inside patients, an undetected perforation of an organ or blood vessel leading to extensive post surgery complications. Whatever the reason, if you or a loved one have been the victim, please contact our specialists who will review your specific situation to see if it qualifies for medical malpractice.

Dangerous Drugs

Some drugs by their very nature are more dangerous than others and must be administered with extreme care. The impact of dangerous drug consumption can have devastating consequences if done incorrectly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice law has its share of complexities. We’re ready to answer any questions you have. Below are a few we frequently receive.

What Damages Are Available in Medical Malpractice Cases?

You are entitled to economic and non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Economic damages include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earning potential
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Transportation costs for medical visits

Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Humiliation

Proving your damages is essential to winning the maximum award. We work diligently to ensure that our clients are compensated for all eligible harms.

How Much Will a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Cost Me?

Our fee comes from the settlement award you receive, which means you don’t have to worry about paying for our services until you’re compensated.

What Does a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Do?

A medical malpractice lawyer fights to get their client maximum compensation for the damages they are suffering. It is a job that often requires an attorney to go head-to-head with insurance companies and defense attorneys in compensation negotiations and sometimes in court.

Additionally, a medical malpractice attorney handles the complicated procedures associated with medical malpractice compensation claims.

This is because medical malpractice is a special type of personal injury claim that involves complex medical terminology and routinely requires the use of medical experts. As a result, a competent medical malpractice attorney must have a deep understanding of medical issues as well as the law.

How Long Will the Case Take?

It varies. Before a settlement, we need to wait for you or your loved one to reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), which means you’re 100% recovered or stable enough to get a long-term diagnosis. Getting to this point could take weeks, months, or longer.

Settlement negotiations are based on the condition and circumstances of the victim at MMI and can take a few months if everything goes smoothly and you accept an early offer. If the offer is rejected, a trial may be on the table, which will result in a longer resolution time.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing Medical Malpractice Cases?

In most instances, you have two years from your injury date to file a medical malpractice case.

Don’t suffer in silence because of a medical error, and never let a medical professional talk you out of seeking the compensation you deserve. As a member of society, you are promised and should expect competent medical services from professionals who hold themselves out to the public as healers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Personal injury litigators specializing in medical malpractice suits typically handle medical malpractice suits.
Technically, any lawyer can file a lawsuit if you’ve suffered a medical misdiagnosis or a mistake during surgery or another medical procedure. But an attorney with litigation experience who specializes in medical malpractice will be a better choice.
Medical malpractice cases differ from other types of personal injury claims, like a car accident, in that your lawyer will need to establish that other medical professionals would have acted differently than your doctor, given the same circumstances.
To do so, your attorney must call medical experts as witnesses, which takes resources some lawyers may not have.
In addition, many medical malpractice specialists have a thorough knowledge of what will be defined as negligent behavior under the laws of your local jurisdiction. Therefore, they can better construct a strong case on your behalf.
Your lawyer will also need to analyze your medical records, which takes expertise and experience that general practice lawyers may not have.

You can look for an experienced medical malpractice attorney by searching your state’s Bar Association directory for lawyers specializing in medical malpractice.
Or you can also try searching The National Trial Lawyers site for medical malpractice trial legal teams. You’ll see biographies of personal injury attorneys in your area, so read them carefully to find lawyers specializing in medical malpractice.
Once you’ve prepared a shortlist of lawyers, you can search their trial records and backgrounds to ensure they’re in good standing with the state Bar Association.
You can also ask for a referral from friends or family members who know lawyers or who have been successfully represented by medical malpractice lawyers in your area.
If you have a lawyer you’ve used for other types of cases, such as drafting a will or representing you in a divorce, they may be able to refer you to a medical malpractice specialist, too.
If you look online for a medical malpractice legal firm, read the biographies and client testimonials, and look for their case results. Many reputable personal injury lawyers will have these on their firm website.

Each medical malpractice legal firm structures its fees differently, so your specific costs will depend on who you select to represent you. However, almost all medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means their legal fees are assessed after winning your case.
If your lawyer doesn’t secure you a settlement for damages, then they don’t collect fees. Usually, the attorney’s fees are a percentage of the final settlement, and it may be more or less depending on how complicated your case is.
Medical malpractice cases often require expert witness testimony to establish that your doctor or health care provider was negligent or failed their duty of care to you. Your lawyer will pay for the cost of expert witness assessments of your case and often an independent review of your medical claim and history.
These costs will usually be deducted from your settlement as well. If your lawyer determines that you need a second opinion about your medical condition, the fees for additional testing and exams may also be deducted from the final settlement.

Your medical malpractice lawyer is your trusted advocate and will defend your interests against the other parties and their insurance company. In a personal injury case, you may be working closely with your lawyer for several months. Start your lawyer selection by making a shortlist of experienced medical malpractice lawyers in your area.
Many personal injury lawyers will offer a free consultation for your case. You may want to call a few of the lawyers on your list to discuss your case and find the best fit.
Look for someone whose communication style matches yours and with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal details about your or your loved one’s medical background.
During your initial consultation, make sure that you’re prepared. Create a timeline of your case, from the point you first realized you were sick through the different exams and treatments you received.
Bring your medical records with you, and jot down all the details you can remember about each encounter with the at-fault medical care provider. This gives the lawyer a better idea of the scope of your case.

If you’re seeking help for complications from a botched surgery or improperly conducted medical procedure, or if a missed diagnosis has left you with a chronic illness, you may not think, “call a lawyer.” But it’s important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
You only have a limited time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This limit is called the statute of limitations. It varies by state and can be as little as one year and up to six years.
Statutes of limitations are calculated from the date of the medical procedure that wasn’t performed correctly or the date you discovered that your medical condition was misdiagnosed. For example, your doctor may have diagnosed you with lupus and treated you for that, when instead, you had leukemia and needed cancer treatments.
If you miss the deadline to file your malpractice claim, the court will likely dismiss your case, no matter how strongly the facts are in your favor. That's why you need to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer right away.

Usually, yes. The qualifications for personal injury lawyers and medical malpractice lawyers are essentially the same. Both should be licensed to practice in your state and be in good standing with the state Bar Association.
Almost all medical malpractice lawyers are personal injury lawyers, but not every personal injury lawyer specializes in medical malpractice. Personal injury law covers a broad scope of cases, from dog bites to commercial truck accidents and workplace injuries.
There is a lot of room in the personal injury field for specialization, and many medical malpractice lawyers take on only malpractice personal injury claims.
Medical malpractice cases are much more complex than other types of personal injury suits. Pursuing medical malpractice means hiring expert witnesses, which many other cases don’t require. And your lawyer will also need an affidavit (a sworn statement) from a physician saying that the defendant was negligent in your case.
Hospitals have an entire legal team to defend against medical malpractice, so your law firm will need resources to take them on, which not every personal injury lawyer has access to.

It’s important to discern whether a personal injury attorney has the experience and resources to pursue a complicated medical malpractice case. Your initial consultation is your chance to interview different attorneys to find one you feel confident can represent you. Here are some examples of good questions to ask.
“What kind of experience do you have taking cases like mine to trial?” Although most cases can be settled out of court, sometimes the facts are contested enough so that the medical provider and their legal team feel confident going to trial.
“How extensive is your medical knowledge?” Part of their job is reviewing medical records and preparing expert witness testimony, so they should be pretty familiar with different aspects of the medical field.
“What kind of financial resources do you have to pursue my case?” Your lawyer is responsible for booking expert medical witnesses who can testify that other medical providers would have acted differently. And they may have you examined by other doctors to confirm your misdiagnosis and the extent of the injuries due to the malpractice.

Malpractice cases start with your lawyer sending a demand letter to the other party’s insurance company. The demand letter states the elements of the case, including the misdiagnosis or medical mistake, and names the responsible parties.
Your lawyer will ask for a settlement that covers the additional treatment you need due to the malpractice and compensation for pain and suffering. They will probably go ahead and file your case in court to ensure that it’s filed before the statute of limitations in your state expires.
Then, the other party’s insurance company will either agree to the letter or send a counteroffer. During this time, your lawyer may have you undergo other medical exams to determine the extent of your injuries.
The next step in malpractice cases is often mediation. Mediation is a type of negotiation session between both parties overseen by a professional mediator who can facilitate the discussion. If no agreement is made in mediation, the case moves to trial, and the result is in the hands of a jury.

When you’re considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may be curious how long the process will take. Each case is different, so your lawyer will try to give you an estimate in your initial consultation of how long you can expect the process to take. However, there are so many elements to a malpractice case that putting an exact time limit on one can be difficult. The average case takes about two to three years to settle. But if you and the other party can’t reach an agreement in mediation, expect the case to take at least four years.
The length of time a case takes also depends on how much compensation your lawyer asks for. Many times, they will ask for punitive damages if the actions of the doctor or health care center were especially egregious.
Cases with a value of more than $2 million can easily take five to fifteen years to settle. Insurance companies are reluctant to pay out seven-figure settlements and will go over every aspect of your case with a fine-toothed comb, which will take time.

The parties who can file a medical malpractice lawsuit are either the person who was directly harmed or their immediate family if the victim dies. In the event of the death of the victim, the lawsuit would be filed as a wrongful death medical malpractice case, and in most states, the only parties that can file this kind of suit are:
The deceased party’s spouse or legal domestic partner
The deceased party’s parents, either biological or adoptive
The deceased party’s children, either biological and adopted
Not every medical case with less-than-ideal results can be labeled as malpractice. Sometimes, especially in an emergency, mistakes can happen. Or in other cases, treatment for a particular condition may not have a good chance of success. This may not be the fault of a doctor.
Typical cases that fall under medical malpractice would be:
Wrongful diagnosis or misdiagnosis
Late diagnosis of a terminal illness
‘Tunnel vision
Maternal obstetrics, affecting mother, baby, or both
Surgery Malpractice
Your lawyer will be able to determine in your initial consultation whether your case qualifies for malpractice.