According to the American Medical Association, 42% of doctors or physicians have faced a medical malpractice lawsuit in the course of their careers. Doctors are held to a very high degree of standard in their practice. Many cases of medical malpractice involve a serious or crippling injury or death. This means that juror sympathy in these lawsuits is high. Medical malpractice experts who defend these cases are often faced with a myriad of challenges. In light of this, they need to be well prepared and here are some key pointers.
Prepare for any Eventuality
Statistics reveal that many of the medical malpractice cases are settled out of court. Despite this, one of the keys to defending such cases is to assume that the case will be tried in court. This way the defense team will not be caught unaware or blindsided when the case goes to trial. Preparation to go to trial should commence once a petition is sent by the insurance company. If a lawsuit has been filled against you, you want to enlist the services of an attorney who has trial experience.
Early case Investigation
Many of the medical malpractice cases can go on for up to 5 years. However, if the defense team does its work properly, then this time frame can be shortened. It is very unsettling for a doctor to practice effectively with a case over his head. The positive is that studies has shown a direct correlation with care quality and odds of a settlement being dropped. Doctors who provide consistently good care will win more cases. Early case investigation can go a long way in reducing this time frame. Some medical malpractice lawsuits are filed a few months after the incident happened. In such cases, the defense team will rely heavily on treatment notes and medical records. This is because the doctor may not remember much. It is very important for a defense team to engage the services of medical malpractice experts. These professionals will provide insight in the case and this can be very instrumental during trial. Early case investigation should come up with a complete medical chronology of the case, preliminary literature research and medical records. The defense team can use a nurse paralegal to get this information.
Medical Expert Witness
The medical expert witness testimony helps to add credibility to the case. The defense team must therefore pick an expert who is above board. If the case goes to trial, the expert’s qualifications and history may come up. The defense team will have to look into the expert’s record and ascertain that he does not have any biases. To prepare the expert witness, the defense lawyer should cross examine the witness so that he or she is well prepared in court. The defense team must be well prepared for any contingencies and they should try to mitigate such risks before the trial proceedings begin.
Any encounter with law enforcement has the potential to deprive you of your liberty; this is particularly so if your encounter doesn’t end with a mere citation or warning but you instead find yourself arrested for impaired driving and wondering whether you need to hire a criminal lawyer to advocate for your interests. For the majority of first-time offenders you are likely to expect a release from detention under one of the following conditions: promise to appear, recognizance, or with condition (e.g.: you must stay in a particular city, you may have to surrender your passport, or report periodically to authorities). In a few circumstances you may not be released under one of the preceding conditions and the courts hold what is called a bail hearing to determine whether you may be released or held in detention until the case has been completed.
The stakes are high at a bail hearing because you run the risk of detention until your charge is resolved. This hearing must be held within 24 hours of your arrest, but because of what is at stake thorough preparation is necessary and may result in you choosing an adjournment so that you or your criminal lawyer if you hire one, can fully prepare the best arguments for the court (Learn more here). An adjournment can’t exceed three days, so even though you will still remain in custody you could have a better chance of a positive outcome at the hearing.
Why You May be Denied Release
There are multiple reasons the court will decline release and require the accused to remain in custody for the duration and the court will exercise this option if it is determined that detention is necessary to ensure the accused appearance in court, if detention is necessary to protect the public, or to maintain confidence in the judicial system.
Generally the Crown has the burden of showing cause to hold an accused for the duration of the proceedings, but in rare circumstances this burden is shifted and the accused must show reason for release instead. This may happen when the accused has been re-arrested while on release from another pending charge, if the accused doesn’t ordinarily reside in Canada, if the charge is for failure to comply with prior court order, or for certain drug trafficking and possession charges.
Should you find yourself facing a bail hearing it’s important to keep in mind that you have a right to reasonable bail in an amount within the financial capability of either you or your surety. Learn more in how to prepare for a bail hearing here. In any instance, a good criminal lawyer can be the difference between negotiating release and remaining in detention until your case is fully resolved.
If you happen to be hurt at work, on the road, or elsewhere, you must be prepared for interactions with insurance providers. Almost every defendant that you might sue will have an insurance company backing them. That company will pay for the legal fees of the defendant. The company will pay, as well, for any judgment that you might win, as long as the judgment does not exceed the amount of coverage the defendant has. With this in mind, insurance companies will play a major role in the process, even pushing for a settlement before you are ready in some cases. Getting a personal injury lawyer on your side early will help you understand the process.
Personal injury lawyers and knowing the value of your case
One of the things that personal injury attorneys can help with is showing you just how much money your case is actually worth. What happens if you are injured because a large Canadian company was negligent in creating a product or in not warning the public of some known danger? Are you looking at a million dollar payout? Do you have a hundred thousand dollar claim? If you’ve never been hurt, and you’ve never made it through law training, then you likely have no idea how much the claim is worth. Insurance companies know this about you. Defendants will often try to low-ball you, throwing out a number that seems large, but is actually well below what you should receive. Good disability lawyers know how to evaluate cases. They can give you a good sense of how much you might win if you can convince a jury to side with you.
Generating public and media attention to improve your settlement
You see it across Canada and the United States as well. When people are injured by police negligence, by a company, or in some other way, there is an effort to create media buzz and public awareness. Good lawyers can craft a media plan that can help to give you the biggest possible payout. There are times when having the public and media on your side will make the defendant pay a bit more. It should be your job to do whatever you can to enhance your prospects in this way. Good personal injury lawyers have the connections necessary to generate positive attention for your case. An added benefit is that your story will help to hold a dangerous defendant publicly responsible. Though it is important to know that there are limitations to this strategy and media attention should be used on a case by case basis.
Ultimately personal injury lawyers can play a critical role in helping you. Whether you’ve been the victim of general negligence, you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, or you’ve been disabled at work, a solid lawyer will fight insurance companies and generate media attention to move your case forward in a productive way.