Malpractice cases can be messy. Few doctors will want to admit fault when it comes to a million-dollar lawsuit, and the hospital board responsible for ensuring that malpractice cases don’t occur won’t want to admit that their facility had anything to do with an injury or illness left untreated or undiagnosed. So when is a malpractice case a “slam dunk?” The most obvious answer is this: the case is a slam dunk whenever you find a malpractice attorney willing to take it on.
That’s because malpractice falls under the umbrella of “personal injury” and lawyers who take on these cases expect to be paid only if they win. This type of payment plan guarantees that only the cases with the highest chance of gaining ground in or out of court will actually make it that far. It also reduces the chance of a frivolous lawsuit.
That’s one answer, but what is the “best” kind of malpractice case?
Many doctors have bedside manner. They know how to discuss big health problems with patients without the patient feeling panic set in. These doctors are beloved by their patients, who are mostly comfortable speaking with them. And these doctors are just as prone to making mistakes as everyone else. But unfortunately, the first thing a hospital or attorney will do when someone launches a malpractice case against a popular doctor is play up that popularity. That’s what happened when former Helena oncologist Dr. Thomas Weiner was fired for malpractice.
Attorney Bob Meals represents Dr. Weiner. He said, “Dr. Weiner’s work speaks for itself — over 99% of his patients have expressed satisfaction with his care and treatment during the past 24 years when he practiced at St. Peter’s.”
We reiterate, Dr. Weiner was fired. Some of the material evidence suggests that Weiner ordered unnecessary chemotherapy, a dangerous cancer treatment that can sometimes do just as much harm as good.
The best cases are built against unpopular doctors, sadly, but any case with material evidence can win in court. The real trick is gathering that evidence in a timely fashion when the doctors and hospital administrators will be doing everything in their power to make sure you have trouble obtaining it. Your attorney can help you find what you need.
If you believe that your prognosis was worsened because of a delayed diagnosis, a low standard of care, or even something as crazy as a misplaced instrument in your body during surgery, then you have the right to gather information for a lawsuit. And that’s exactly what you should do. Many hospitals will settle rather than take a case to court, and that’s probably the best outcome for most malpractice lawsuits. Speak with your lawyer about what you want or expect, and your lawyer will be honest about setting realistic goals and expectations for the case you build together.