Why Does a Trial Lawyer Say "NO" To Most Medical Malpractice Cases?

Finding a lawyer to handle a medical malpractice case is very difficult for many reasons. The first (and most obvious reason) is that many lawyers are not experienced, skilled or talented enough to handle such a complex case up and through trial. However, there are other reasons beyond the ability to find a capable lawyer.

Every day we meet with ordinary folks about potential medical malpractice cases. This is not surprising as statistics show that medical negligence kills and harms patients and families at an alarming rate. Many times, the same doctors commit the same error time and time again. As a trial lawyer, I wish I could hold every doctor accountable for the mistakes and harm they cause. Unfortunately, that is not possible. The medical malpractice insurance companies, lobbyist and doctors have spent millions of dollars to make ordinary people believe that there is a medical malpractice crisis in this country. Potential jurors see this propaganda every day in the media. Doctor’s offices are plastered with posters threatening to leave the state. These myths portray doctors as the victims of lawsuits. As a result, jurors are less and less likely these days to decide a case against a bad doctor who injures an innocent patient.

As a result, many times I have to meet with families and their loved ones who are victims of medical malpractice and tell them that I can not represent them. These people have cases that are not frivolous, but have true merit. Unfortunately, because it is very difficult to convince a jury to hold a doctor or hospital legally responsible even in clear cut cases, trial lawyers (including myself) are forced to be very selective in the cases they choose to bring.

Remember, a trial lawyer works for free. That is, a trial lawyer does not get paid unless his or her client gets a recovery. Malpractice cases cost on average, between $20,000 to $40,000 in out of pocket expenses. These are resources that the trial lawyer must pay “up front” and without any guarantee of being reimbursed. In addition, a trial lawyer will commit hundreds of hours in time in research, discovery, trial preparation and trial. When out of pocket costs and legal hours are combined, a trial lawyer must be prepared to commit $150,000 to $250,000 per case. More importantly, since there are only so many hours and so many cases a trial lawyer can work, if he commits to one case, he can not commit to others. As a result, the sad fact is that it is getting more difficult for true victims to get justice in the courts.

For further information on medical malpractice lawsuits, click on the links below:

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Jury Awards Nearly $800,000 in Medical Negligence Suit

Today, October 23, 2006, a Camden County jury found in favor of The Family of Mr. Robert Boylan in a medical malpractice suit. The defendants were B. Dawson, Shoemaker, M.D., Joseph Szgalsky, M.D.and Megan Vermeulen, M.D. The jury found both Dr. Shoemaker and Dr. Szgalsky responsible. The jury awarded nearly $800,000 in damages. The trial lasted three weeks before The Honorable Ronald J. Freeman. The jury deliberated 2 1/2 days. Attorney for the family of Robert Boylan was John R. Mininno, Esquire of the Mininno Law Office.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by Medical malpractice, you may have a claim for damages. For more information, please go to the New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys page.

John R.Mininno, Esq. is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania trial lawyer representing clients in medical malpractice, defective products and other serious injury claims. He also writes about issues concerning patient safety. His offices are in Collingswood, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.

Why New Jersey Should Extend the Time Limits of Its Statutes of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that effectively places a time limit on suing another party. While there are some important reasons for having statutes of limitations, there are also some good reasons why these time limits in New Jersey are too short. In New Jersey, the limitations on suits for Personal Injury, Negligence, Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice are all two years after the discovery of the injury. The date of the discovery of the injury is included in the two year period. While at first two years may seem like a reasonable amount of time for some injuries, it certainly is not for many others.

Consider a hypothetical situation where a patient, with no family to act on his/her behalf, suffers from some kind of substantial medical malpractice that makes a short hospital visit into one taking months. This incapacitated patient discovered the malpractice as soon as it occurred, leaving him two years to bring a suit against the doctor or hospital. Because of the hospital stay and because this patient has no family to act on his/her behalf, s/he is left with very little time to bring a lawsuit, for which preparations can be time-consuming. Choosing the right lawyer in itself can be a difficult task and is the most important part of bringing a successful lawsuit. A victim, such as the one in this hypothetical, is left with little time to act, because of this short time period from the New Jersey statute of limitations.

In some states, these statutes of limitations are even shorter for medical malpractice than other types of professional malpractice suits, such as suing lawyers or financial advisors. New Jersey ought to do two things for its citizens. First, they must disseminate these laws to the public. Many people in New Jersey have no idea that a time limit exists on these types of law suits and, therefore, fail to bring them within a timely fashion. Second, the politicians should reconsider the time limits that these laws create. While total abolishment of the Statutes of Limitations would not be a perfect solution to this problem, extending the time limits to a more reasonable amount of time for a victimized party is necessary. It appears as though these limitations protect the party who has caused harm to another, rather than the other way around.

Free Legal Advice: Medical Malpractice