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The law recognizes certain relationships in which one person owes a duty of care to another. That duty may be breached by the failure to exercise reasonable care in its fulfillment. When the breach causes injury, the injured party may seek compensation for their damages. One type of such legally recognized relationship is that of a doctor and a patient.
Doctors are entrusted with patients’ health and lives; they therefore owe many duties of care to their patients. When the applicable medical standard of care is not met, doctors may face medical malpractice lawsuits. These lawsuits are often necessary for patients to recover costs associated with their resulting injuries. Surprisingly, however, most patients harmed by medical error do not seek recovery through the legal system.
One theory about why more people do not take legal action against their doctors is the stigma associated with medical malpractice claims – many people believe they are frivolous. This theory is unsupported by facts and statistics. A New England School of Medicine study revealed that only ten percent of medical malpractice claims resulted in payment in the absence of error, while 73 percent received compensation in accordance with their merit. Therefore, most medical malpractice claims are meritorious and are awarded commensurate compensation.
Additionally, most lawyers take medical malpractice cases on a contingency basis, meaning they will not get paid unless the case is successful. Lawyers will have to spend a lot of money on experts, depositions and other costs associated with proving negligence. Therefore, many are hesitant to put time, effort and money into claims that are unlikely to allow for recovery of the litigation expenses.
Patients may not be aware they are injured due to medical error. In the interest of self-preservation, doctors may not inform patients that they were at fault for their injuries. On the other hand, a doctor may not know that they made a mistake and therefore neither does the patient.
Also, patients may not understand the legal process of obtaining compensation. They may feel that filing a medical malpractice claim is too complicated and arduous. The thought of going to trial can be very intimidating and cause injured patients to avoid filing claims.
Some injured patients may be hesitant to file medical malpractice claims for fear that they will not be able to afford the large fees. However, most lawyers do not take fees unless they win the case, so the out-of-pocket expenses for injured patients are often minimal.
Filing a medical malpractice claim may be beneficial for three important reasons. First, filing a claim is often the only way that an injured patient will be able to recover the costs associated with their injuries. Second, filing a claim ensures that the person responsible for the injuries pays for those injuries. Finally, filing a claim may prevent others from being harmed by similar medical errors.
If you believe you have been injured due to a medical error, contact a Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyer at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. We understand that the process of filing a medical malpractice claim can be intimidating and we are here to help you every step of the way. From our offices in Cherry Hill, Philadelphia and King of Prussia, we represent clients in South Jersey and Pennsylvania. Contact us online or call us at 856-354-9444 to schedule a free case evaluation.